Primates' behavioural responses to tourists: evidence for a trade-off between potential risks and benefits

Marechal, Laetitia and MacLarnon, Ann and Majolo, Bonaventura and Semple, Stuart (2016) Primates' behavioural responses to tourists: evidence for a trade-off between potential risks and benefits. Scientific Reports, 6 . p. 32465. ISSN 10.1038

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The presence of, and interactions with tourists can be both risky and beneficial for wild animals. In wildlife tourism settings, animals often experience elevated rates of aggression from conspecifics, and they may also be threatened or physically aggressed by the tourists themselves. However, tourist provisioning of wild animals provides them with highly desirable foods. In situations of conflicting motivations such as this, animals would be expected to respond using behavioural coping mechanisms. In the present study, we investigated how animals respond to tourist pressure, using wild adult Barbary macaques in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco, as a case study. We found evidence that these animals use a range of different behavioural coping mechanisms–physical avoidance, social support, affiliative, aggressive and displacement behaviours–to cope with the stress associated with tourists. The pattern of use of such behaviours appears to depend on a trade-off between perceived risks and potential benefits. We propose a framework to describe how animals respond to conflicting motivational situations, such as the presence of tourists, that present simultaneously risks and benefits.

Keywords:Wildlife tourism, Primates, Barbary macaques, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
L Social studies > L600 Anthropology
L Social studies > L620 Physical and Biological Anthropology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:24233
Deposited On:23 Sep 2016 20:32

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