Thesis

The Impact of Tourism on Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Behaviour, Home Range Size and Habitat Use at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar

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Abstract

The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), endemic to Madagascar, is considered 'Near Threatened' by the International Union of Conservation of Nature. The limited numbers are the result of anthropogenic activities. No previous research has specifically investigated the possible impact of primate tourism on free-ranging ring-tailed lemurs; which is imperative to understanding future conservation measures that need to be enforced. This study was carried out between February and April at Berenty Reserve in Madagascar, and investigated the impact of tourist pressure on the behaviour, home range size and habitat usage of two troops of ring-tailed lemur subjected to different intensities of tourism. Tourist presence was found to negatively influence the activity budget behaviour of resting, and positively influence intra-troop aggression. Furthermore, increasing tourist density was found to negatively influence feeding on human food resources. Greater rates of scent-marking (both a hypothesised self-directed behaviour indicative of anxiety, as well as an activity of 'tradition' in ring-tailed lemurs) were apparent when tourists were present. Increased inter-troop aggression was found to be positively related to greater rates of scent-marking, tourist feeding interactions, and feeding on human food resources. Minimum Convex Polygons and Kernel Density Estimators were used to analyse the home ranges, revealing that food resource distribution influenced home range size and usage. This research suggested that highly clumped and nutritious provisioned foods (including introduced tree species), resulted in greater rates of intra-troop and inter-troop aggression (most notably amongst females) and scent-marking behaviours. It was concluded that overcrowding, and smaller home ranges of troops found at the tourist front are indirectly due to tourist pressure. This study therefore highlights the need for improved monitoring of food provisioning and ways to control and mitigate the overcrowding lemur populations.

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Data were collected on the behavior and physical characteristics of 259 human visitors and 24 chimpanzees at Chester Zoo. The successive responses of humans and chimpanzees to each other's behavior were recorded, the resulting long sequence being referred to as an interaction sequence. There was no particular set of characteristics that distinguished interactors from noninteractors in either humans or chimpanzees, although there was some evidence that chimpanzees were particularly likely to respond to men carrying objects. Chimpanzee responses were random with respect to the previous human behavior, but human responses were significantly associated with the preceding chimpanzee behavior. In particular, chimpanzee sounds were likely to be followed by human sounds, and begging was likely to be followed by the offer of food. Interaction sequences varied in length, but 9% of chimpanzee-initiated sequences went as far as a ninth interaction. Sequences resulted in the chimpanzees being given food in 25% of human-initiated, but only 8% of chimpanzee-initiated sequences. The results are consistent with the interpretation that humans and chimpanzees are motivated to interact with one another and that the chimpanzees do this primarily to obtain food. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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Fraser Island is a unique tourist destination catering to more than 300,000 visitors annually. A significant attraction of the World Heritage-listed island are the dingoes, which are regarded as one of the purest strains in Australia. The dingo population is estimated to be between 150 and 200 animals and their conservation is of national significance. Concerns have long been expressed about the potential for dangerous interactions between dingoes and humans. As visitation to the Island has increased, aspects of the environment have changed and dingoes have altered their normal habits. Management practices have focussed on removing unnatural food sources, such as open rubbish dumps, and educating the public. On April 30, 2001, dingoes mauled a 9-year-old boy to death and the public demanded firm management decisions. However, the fundamental question remained. Do we manage the animals or the people? Public opinion was polarised. This article describes the issues and politics of managing dingoes and tourists on Fraser Island, and highlights how a single serious incident can influence management decisions.
Article
During the last two decades, much research has focused on the mechanisms used by nonhuman primates for conflict resolution. Reconciliation, i.e., a friendly reunion between former opponents, has been reported in several primate species. Reconciliation seems to serve at least two functions. According to the Valuable Relationship Hypothesis, reconciliation restores the disturbed relationship between former opponents and, consequently, occurs more often between individuals with more valuable relationships. The Uncertainty-Reduction Hypothesis emphasizes the function of reconciliation to reduce anxiety and uncertainty in the recipient of aggression following a conflict. The study of post-conflict emotionality facilitates the integration of these two hypotheses. The present study focuses on the factors affecting post-conflict anxiety of the two former opponents. Post-conflict data of captive Barbary (Macaca sylvanus) and long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are used here to examine patterns of anxiety-related behavior, such as self-scratching. The fact that in the first minutes following a conflict not only recipients of aggression but aggressors too increased the rate of scratching above baseline levels suggests that the risk of renewed attacks is unlikely to be the only reason for post-conflict anxiety. The quality of the relationship between former opponents was a good predictor of post-conflict scratching rates by the recipient of aggression: Rates were higher after conflicts between individuals with stronger affiliative relationships. This result was not due to differential risk of resuming hostilities or arousal resulting from the intensity of the previous conflict. This finding suggests that the disturbance of a valuable relationship due to the previous conflict (e.g., the potential loss of benefits provided by such relationships) is a major cause of post-conflict anxiety. In line with the Uncertainty-Reduction Hypothesis, the best way to cope with post-conflict anxiety is to reconcile and therefore restore the relationship. Higher levels of post-conflict anxiety should lead therefore to higher conciliatory tendency. This interpretation is supported by the fact that individuals with strong affiliative relationships reconcile more frequently than others, as predicted by the Valuable Relationship Hypothesis. The mediating role of emotions, such as post-conflict anxiety, is probably not limited to reconciliation. Other post-conflict interactions, such as consolation, triadic reconciliation, and mediation, are also likely to be better understood if future studies focus on the post-conflict emotions of the opponents and bystanders. Aggr. Behav. 23:315–328, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
Simulations are necessary to assess the performance of home-range estimators because the true distribution of empirical data is unknown, but we must question whether that performance applies to empirical data. Some studies have used empirically based simulations, randomly selecting subsets of data to evaluate estimator performance, but animals do not move randomly within a home range. We created an empirically based simulation using a behavioral model, generated a probability distribution from those data, and randomly selected locations from that distribution in a chronological sequence as the simulated individual moved through its home range. Thus, we examined the influence of temporal patterns of space use and determined the effects of smoothing, number of locations, and autocorrelation on kernel estimates. Additionally, home-range estimators were designed to evaluate species that use space with few restrictions, traveling almost anywhere on the landscape. Many species, however, confine their movements to a geographical feature that conforms to a relatively linear pattern. Consequently, conventional analysis techniques may overestimate home ranges. We used simulations based upon coastal river otters (Lontra canadensis), a species that primarily uses the aquatic-terrestrial interface, to evaluate the efficacy of fixed and adaptive kernel estimates with various smoothing parameters. Measures of shoreline length within contours from fixed kernel analyses and the reference smoothing parameter were best for estimates of 95% home ranges, because smoothing with least squares cross validation (LSCV) often resulted in inconsistent results, excessive fragmentation, and marked underestimates of linear home ranges. Core areas (50% density contours) were best defined with fixed kernel LSCV estimates. Fewer locations underestimated linear home ranges, and there was a subtle positive relation between home-range size and autocorrelation. Generally, as location numbers increased, autocorrelation increased, but differences from the "true" home range decreased. Results were similar for our simulations and empirical data from 13 river otters. Examination of empirical data revealed that data with high positive autocorrelation illustrated seasonal reproductive activities. Because autocorrelation does not negatively influence estimates of linear home ranges, assessment of independence between data points may be more appropriately viewed as a means to identify important behavioral information, rather than as a hindrance.
Article
Seven major types of sampling for observational studies of social behavior have been found in the literature. These methods differ considerably in their suitability for providing unbiased data of various kinds. Below is a summary of the major recommended uses of each technique: In this paper, I have tried to point out the major strengths and weaknesses of each sampling method. Some methods are intrinsically biased with respect to many variables, others to fewer. In choosing a sampling method the main question is whether the procedure results in a biased sample of the variables under study. A method can produce a biased sample directly, as a result of intrinsic bias with respect to a study variable, or secondarily due to some degree of dependence (correlation) between the study variable and a directly-biased variable. In order to choose a sampling technique, the observer needs to consider carefully the characteristics of behavior and social interactions that are relevant to the study population and the research questions at hand. In most studies one will not have adequate empirical knowledge of the dependencies between relevant variables. Under the circumstances, the observer should avoid intrinsic biases to whatever extent possible, in particular those that direcly affect the variables under study. Finally, it will often be possible to use more than one sampling method in a study. Such samples can be taken successively or, under favorable conditions, even concurrently. For example, we have found it possible to take Instantaneous Samples of the identities and distances of nearest neighbors of a focal individual at five or ten minute intervals during Focal-Animal (behavior) Samples on that individual. Often during Focal-Animal Sampling one can also record All Occurrences of Some Behaviors, for the whole social group, for categories of conspicuous behavior, such as predation, intergroup contact, drinking, and so on. The extent to which concurrent multiple sampling is feasible will depend very much on the behavior categories and rate of occurrence, the observational conditions, etc. Where feasible, such multiple sampling can greatly aid in the efficient use of research time.
Article
There is growing interest in examining the effects that visitors have on the welfare of zoo primates. Most recently, the importance of evaluating the combined impacts of visitors and management practices on anxiety levels of these animals has been highlighted. Studies that take such an approach have the potential not only to highlight how visitors affect the welfare of zoo primates, but also how these impacts may be mediated by management interventions, such as enrichment. The aim of this study was to explore the potential impact of visitor numbers on behavioural indices of anxiety among western lowland gorillas in two UK zoos, Port Lympne and Chessington, and to determine whether feeding enrichment mediates any such visitor effects. During fifteen minute focal watches, visitor numbers were assessed and all occurrence data collected on two behavioural indices of anxiety: self-scratching and visual monitoring of visitors. Data collected at each site were divided according to whether they were taken during periods of feeding enrichment, or during periods when no such enrichment was being given. Analyses revealed no evidence for a visitor effect at Chessington, with durations of self-scratching and visual monitoring unrelated to visitor number, either during periods of enrichment or outside of such times. At Port Lympne, durations of both self-scratching and visual monitoring were positively associated with visitor number when no feeding enrichment was taking place; no such relationships were seen, however, during periods of feeding enrichment. Potential reasons for the difference between sites in the occurrence of visitor effects, and for the absence of visitor effects during feeding enrichment at Port Lympne are discussed. The results of this study highlight the importance of assessing visitor effects on the same species at multiple sites, and also suggest that such effects may be reduced by positive management approaches.
Article
The quantification of behaviours linked to anxiety or stress provides a powerful means to address applied questions related to the well-being of captive animals. This study explored correlates of two such behaviours – self-directed (SDB) and stereotypic behaviour (STB) – among captive red-capped mangabeys, Cercocebus torquatus torquatus. Study animals were held at two sites run by CERCOPAN, a primate sanctuary in Nigeria. At the first site (Calabar), animals were housed in traditional cage enclosures, while at the second (Rhoko), they lived in a semi-free ranging environment. Analyses revealed that while animals at the two sites did not differ in time spent in SDB (self-scratching, self-grooming, yawning and body shaking), animals at Calabar showed a higher prevalence of, and spent more time in STB (pacing and head rolling). There were no significant differences in time spent in SDB or STB between the sexes, or between captive-born and wild-born animals. A positive correlation was found between age and time spent in SDB, but not between age and time spent in STB. Finally, positive relationships were found between time spent in SDB and both time spent grooming and time spent being groomed; no relationships were found between grooming behaviour and STB. As stress and anxiety can have detrimental effects on psychological well-being, physical health and reproduction, these findings have important implications for the captive welfare and conservation of red-capped mangabeys, and also potentially of other endangered vertebrate species.