Abstract # 26:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 02:00 PM-02:15 PM: Session 5 (North Main Hall E) Oral Presentation

Sequences of Tibetan Macaque (Macaca thibetana) Behaviors and Tourist Behaviors at Mt. Huangshan, China

M. S. McCarthy1, M. D. Matheson1, J. D. Lester1, L. K. Sheeran1, J. H. Li2 and R. S. Wagner1
1Central Washington University, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926, USA, 2Anhui University
     Previous research on Tibetan macaques at Mt. Huangshan, China suggests ecotourism can have detrimental consequences. This study identified sequences of behaviors that typically occur in monkey-tourist interactions to examine whether certain tourist behaviors precipitate monkey responses. It was hypothesized that in monkey-tourist interactions particular behaviors commonly precede others, and these behavioral sequences were more likely initiated by tourists than by monkeys. Focal sampling was used to record relevant behaviors from tourists and 10 macaques over a one-month period with 28 data collection sessions. The actor, recipient, location, and whether or not behaviors occurred as part of a sequence were recorded. Sequences were defined as two or more behaviors in which each behavior occurred within five seconds of the previous behavior. Of 3,129 total behaviors, researchers recorded 2,534 (81%) from tourists and 595 (19%) from monkeys. Tourists initiated significantly more sequences [Binomial Sign Tests, a=0.05] than monkeys (412, 84.6% versus 75, 15.4%). Tourist pointing, rail slapping, fleeing, and rock showing occurred significantly more in tourist-monkey sequences than tourist-only sequences. Points and railing slaps were also among the most common tourist behaviors preceding monkey threats. By actively discouraging tourists from engaging in these behaviors, monkey threats could be reduced, thereby greatly improving monkey-tourist interactions. Moreover, these results may aid in the management of other macaque ecotourist sites to minimize stress-inducing interactions.