The habituation process in two groups 1 of wild moor macaques (Macaca maura)

Hernández Tienda, Clara, Majolo, Bonaventura, Romero, Teresa , Maulany, Risma Illa, Ngakan, Putu Oka, Beltran Frances, Victor, Gregorio Hernandez, Elisa, Gomez-Melara, Jose Luis, Llorente, Miquel and Amici, Federica (2022) The habituation process in two groups 1 of wild moor macaques (Macaca maura). International Journal of Primatology . ISSN 1573-8604

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The habituation process in two groups 1 of wild moor macaques (Macaca maura)
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When studying animal behavior in the wild, some behaviors may require observation from a relatively short distance. In these cases, habituation is commonly used to ensure that animals do not perceive researchers as a direct threat and do not alter their behavior in their presence. However, habituation can have significant effects on the welfare and conservation of the animals. Studying how non-human primates react to the process of habituation can help to identify the factors that affect habituation, and implement habituation protocols that allow other researchers to speed up the process while maintaining high standards of health and safety for both animals and researchers. In this study, we systematically described the habituation of two groups of wild moor macaques (Macaca maura), an Endangered endemic species of Sulawesi Island (Indonesia), to assess the factors that facilitate habituation and reduce impact on animal behavior during this process. During 7 months, we conducted behavioral observations over 7,872 encounters and an average of 120 days, to monitor how macaque behavior toward researchers changed through time in the two groups under different conditions. We found that both study groups (N= 56, N= 41) became more tolerant to the presence of researchers during the course of the habituation, with occurrence of neutral group responses increasing, and minimum distance to researchers and occurrence of fearful group responses decreasing through time. These changes in behavior were predominant when macaques were in trees, with better visibility conditions, when researchers maintained a longer minimum distance to macaques and, unexpectedly, by the presence of more than one researcher. By identifying these factors, we contribute to designing habituation protocols that decrease the likelihood of fearful responses, and might reduce the stress experienced during this process.

Keywords:Animal behaviour, Macaca maura, Sulawesi, Wild macaques
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C390 Zoology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:47762
Deposited On:21 Jan 2022 11:17

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