Title

Interactions between tourists and juvenile Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China

Presenter Information

Asa Staven

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 137B

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Tourism, Macaque, Interaction

Abstract

Primate tourism research has rarely focused on the interactions of free ranging juvenile and infant monkeys with humans. We investigated young Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) interactions with tourists, researchers, and park staff at the Valley of the Wild Monkeys, Mt. Huangshan, China. One hypothesis stated macaques would display more aggressive behaviors toward unfamiliar humans than frequent visitors. We also hypothesized that the boldness of a monkey depended on its mother’s boldness and the support of its peers. For each interaction, data were collected on monkey identity, human categorization, monkey and human behaviors, and monkey proximity to humans. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was used to investigate patterns of individuals’ interactions with categorical data (e.g., mother’s rank, monkey’s age class, and sex). The data showed significantly more interactions initiated by monkeys than humans ([92.61% vs. 7.39%]; χ2=1414.579, d.f.=2, p<0.01). There was a trend toward subadult and juvenile individuals being the most bold with higher inclinations toward aggressing at humans, while infants rarely engaged humans. Boldness did not seem to correlate with mother boldness or sex, but instead showed association with age class. Aggression rates affected individual tourists frequently more than researchers, park staff, or groups of tourists, with a partiality toward boy visitors (z=1.91, p<.05). Many of these aggressive actions were linked to tourists provoking monkeys with gestures or providing food separately from regularly scheduled feedings. We suggested several management strategies to decrease juvenile and human interactions which include reducing food thrown by tourists, educating tourists to use non-threatening behaviors, and placing fencing as a barrier on the platform.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Wagner, Steve; Li, Jin-Hua

Additional Mentoring Department

Primate Behavior and Ecology

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology

Additional Mentoring Department

School of Life Sciences, Anhui University, Hefei, Anhui Province, China

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May 15th, 4:30 PM May 15th, 4:50 PM

Interactions between tourists and juvenile Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China

SURC Room 137B

Primate tourism research has rarely focused on the interactions of free ranging juvenile and infant monkeys with humans. We investigated young Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) interactions with tourists, researchers, and park staff at the Valley of the Wild Monkeys, Mt. Huangshan, China. One hypothesis stated macaques would display more aggressive behaviors toward unfamiliar humans than frequent visitors. We also hypothesized that the boldness of a monkey depended on its mother’s boldness and the support of its peers. For each interaction, data were collected on monkey identity, human categorization, monkey and human behaviors, and monkey proximity to humans. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was used to investigate patterns of individuals’ interactions with categorical data (e.g., mother’s rank, monkey’s age class, and sex). The data showed significantly more interactions initiated by monkeys than humans ([92.61% vs. 7.39%]; χ2=1414.579, d.f.=2, p<0.01). There was a trend toward subadult and juvenile individuals being the most bold with higher inclinations toward aggressing at humans, while infants rarely engaged humans. Boldness did not seem to correlate with mother boldness or sex, but instead showed association with age class. Aggression rates affected individual tourists frequently more than researchers, park staff, or groups of tourists, with a partiality toward boy visitors (z=1.91, p<.05). Many of these aggressive actions were linked to tourists provoking monkeys with gestures or providing food separately from regularly scheduled feedings. We suggested several management strategies to decrease juvenile and human interactions which include reducing food thrown by tourists, educating tourists to use non-threatening behaviors, and placing fencing as a barrier on the platform.