Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Jessica A. Mayhew

Second Committee Member

Rodrigo Renteria-Valencia

Third Committee Member

Sarah Martin-Solano

Fourth Committee Member

Gabriel Carrillo-Bilbao


Little is known about the group of white-fronted capuchins (Cebus yuracus) coexisting alongside humans in the town of Misahuallí, Tena, Ecuador. This ethnoprimatological study focuses on the human-nonhuman interactions and the perceptions of the local people about the capuchin group. Behavioral interactions were examined using all-occurrence sampling, and the local perceptions of the Misahuallí people were assessed using semi-structured interviews. In total, 2,103 human-capuchin behavioral interactions were recorded. The majority of interactions were positive (55.6%), and 69.6% revolved around food. Overall, the capuchins initiated more negative interactions and in contrast, humans initiated more positive interactions. When interviewed about the capuchin group, locals expressed a positive perception of the monkeys and indicated that the main reason is that the town is heavily dependent on tourism drawn in by the capuchins’ presence. Studying the consequences of urban provisioning or raiding by non-human primates provides an opportunity to learn more about primate behavioral flexibility and generate solutions to mitigate the effects of potential conflict at the human-nonhuman primate interface.