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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) is the research unit of the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services program. Scientists and support staff are dedicated to finding solutions to challenging wildlife damage management problems related to agriculture, natural resources, property, and human health and safety.
Human-wildlife conflicts, wildlife damage, nuisance and pest animals, wildlife disease, invasive species, overabundant wildlife, and overall ecosystem health are just some of the topics studied by researchers at the National Wildlife Research Center.
National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado 80521 970-266-6000 | NWRC@usda.gov
NWRC and University of Wyoming researchers gave 20 captive raccoons a multi-access puzzle box to evaluate the animals' abilities to innovate, learn from previous experiences, and to stop behaviors that were previously successful, but are no longer useful for solving new problems. Twelve of the raccoons tested not only were capable of innovative problem solving, but also of repeated innovations during a novel foraging task. The majority of the raccoons in the study found two or three solutions to the multi-access puzzle box.