Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Human-macaque encounters in Ifrane National Park, Morocco: Behavioural coping strategies of the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) (#654)

James Waterman 1 2 , Malgorzata Pilot 1 , Laetitia Maréchal 2 , Bonaventura Majolo 2
  1. School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom
  2. School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom

Wild animals in human-dominated landscapes are exposed to a range of human activities that can alter their fitness and behaviour. Many disturbance studies focus on a single stimulus, and little is known about whether different stimuli differentially affect animal responses. Encounters with shepherds/foragers, dogs, and/or tourists all have the potential to disturb primates that inhabit areas in close proximity to humans. To understand the effects of specific disturbance types on primate behaviour, we quantified the escape, affiliative, and self-directed behaviours of fifty individuals from five wild Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) groups in Ifrane National Park, Morocco, before, during, and after five classes of disturbance. Using generalised linear mixed models we identified two broadly consistent ‘response profiles’; the first in association with encounters that involved dogs, and the second with encounters that involved provisioning by humans. Encounters with tourists that did not involve provisioning elicited no significant changes in our measures of coping behaviour; however macaques made extensive use of escape behaviours both during and after all other types of encounter. Affiliative behaviours either increased or decreased depending on encounter type, and self-directed behaviours increased in association with human provisioning and lone dog encounters. Encounters with both dogs and (provisioning) humans seem to induce stress. In the first instance because macaques experience the threat of predation, and in the second because of increased intragroup competition and increased proximity to humans. Our results highlight the importance of examining wildlife responses to multiple disturbance types when evaluating the conservation implications of human-wildlife encounters.