Title

Tourist knowledge and perceptions of Tibetan macaques at Mt. Huangshan, China

Presenter Information

Alicia Faulkner

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137B

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Primate tourism is used as a tool to promote conservation of and education about primates, but research has shown that tourist behavior may negatively affect primates. There is a growing body of research quantifying various impacts of tourism on macaques, but few studies quantify what tourists bring to and gain from the experience. The purpose of this study was to provide such data using a survey administered to tourists as they viewed Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at a tourist site called The Valley of the Wild Monkeys (VWM) in Huangshan, Anhui Province, China. I hypothesized that answers would be unequally distributed among options presented for each question, particularly for those questions related to feeding or otherwise interacting with the monkeys. For example, tourists answered questions about their: experience at VWM, understandings of monkey behaviors, opinions of other tourists’ behaviors, satisfaction with park facilities, perceived likelihood of disease transmission, and whether they would enjoy feeding the monkeys. Between August 5-20, 2011, I distributed 376 surveys, with a response rate of 261 (60.1%). Chi-square analyses were run for each question. For 15 of 18 questions, answers selected significantly differed from an even distribution. The results indicated that tourists are interested in an intimate experience with the monkeys, but are not properly educated on several aspects of monkey threat behavior or disease transmission that may occur during such contact. A tourist education plan focusing on how to safely act around the monkeys could enrich tourist experiences in ways that successfully promote conservation efforts.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Lori Sheeran

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology

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May 17th, 3:00 PM May 17th, 3:20 PM

Tourist knowledge and perceptions of Tibetan macaques at Mt. Huangshan, China

SURC 137B

Primate tourism is used as a tool to promote conservation of and education about primates, but research has shown that tourist behavior may negatively affect primates. There is a growing body of research quantifying various impacts of tourism on macaques, but few studies quantify what tourists bring to and gain from the experience. The purpose of this study was to provide such data using a survey administered to tourists as they viewed Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at a tourist site called The Valley of the Wild Monkeys (VWM) in Huangshan, Anhui Province, China. I hypothesized that answers would be unequally distributed among options presented for each question, particularly for those questions related to feeding or otherwise interacting with the monkeys. For example, tourists answered questions about their: experience at VWM, understandings of monkey behaviors, opinions of other tourists’ behaviors, satisfaction with park facilities, perceived likelihood of disease transmission, and whether they would enjoy feeding the monkeys. Between August 5-20, 2011, I distributed 376 surveys, with a response rate of 261 (60.1%). Chi-square analyses were run for each question. For 15 of 18 questions, answers selected significantly differed from an even distribution. The results indicated that tourists are interested in an intimate experience with the monkeys, but are not properly educated on several aspects of monkey threat behavior or disease transmission that may occur during such contact. A tourist education plan focusing on how to safely act around the monkeys could enrich tourist experiences in ways that successfully promote conservation efforts.