Department or Administrative Unit
Previous research on Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China, suggested that ecotourism can have detrimental consequences. This study identified sequences of behaviors that typically occur in macaque-tourist interactions to examine whether particular tourist behaviors precipitate monkey responses. Focal sampling was used to record relevant behaviors from tourists and 10 macaques over 28 data collection sessions in August 2006. Data collectors recorded whether each behavior occurred as part of a sequence. Sequences were defined as two or more behaviors in which each behavior occurred within five seconds of the previous behavior. Of 3,129 total behaviors, 2,539 (81.1%) were from tourists and 590 (18.9%) were from monkeys. Tourists initiated significantly more sequences than did macaques (412 [84.6%] versus 75 [15.4%]). Tourist pointing, rail slapping, fleeing, and rock showing occurred significantly more than expected in tourist-macaque sequences. Points were also among the most common tourist behaviors preceding macaque threats. By discouraging tourists from engaging in these behaviors, macaque threats could be reduced, thereby improving macaque-tourist interactions. These results may aid in the management of other macaque tourist sites to minimize stress-inducing interactions.
McCarthy, M.S. (2009). Sequences of Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) and tourist behaviors at Mt. Huangshan, China. Primate Conservation 24, 145-151. DOI: 10.1896/052.024.0113
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This article was originally published in the journal Primate Conservation.