Abstract # 13420 Event # 187:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2019 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: (Room 309) Oral Presentation


THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH FOR UNDERSTANDING HUMAN-PRIMATE COEXISTENCE AND DESIGNING EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION COMMUNICATION

K. S. Morrow2,1 and E. P. Riley1
1University of Georgia, Athens, USA, 2University of Georgia
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     Across the globe, humans and other primates are increasingly living near and interacting with one another, resulting in new management and conservation concerns. Social science methods provide an important toolkit for primatologists engaging with these conservation issues. At our site in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, people now frequently interact with and provision moor macaques (Macaca maura) encountered along the road intersecting the groups’ home ranges. We used semi-structured interviews and pile sorting exercises with area residents (n = 21) to understand people’s perceptions of and motivations for interacting with the macaques. We found that, although people conceptually perceive macaques to be wild animals, people do not perceive habituated macaques along the road to be wild. Instead, these monkeys are considered, like domestic species, to be “tame,” and thus people perceive them to benefit or rely on food from humans. Furthermore, because “tame” animals were more highly valued than wild animals, habituated macaques were seen as intrinsically better than macaques that remain fearful of people. These results indicate that people’s perceptions of primates can vary based on primates’ own behavior, and the data suggest that existing messaging instructing people not to provision the “wild” macaques may not actually be effective. Future steps in this region include reframing conservation messages to better match local valuation of wildlife and building on this research to develop conservation education outreach programs.