Abstract # 125:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2008 09:15 AM-09:30 AM: Session 13 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Oral Presentation

Aggression and habituation toward humans in two troops of Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China

A. M. Jones1, M. D. Matheson1, L. K. Sheeran1, J. H. Li2 and R. S. Wagner1
1Central Washington University, 2444 Wheaton Ct, Ellensburg, WA 98926, USA, 2Anhui University
     Ecotourism is increasingly being used to promote conservation of primates. However, long-term impacts of human-nonhuman interactions at tourist sites are unknown. We investigated human-directed threats in free-living macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. We hypothesized monkeys differentiate between categories of humans (tourists, Chinese researchers, American researchers, and keepers) due to habituation toward keepers and researchers. Human-monkey interactions were identified via scan sampling for human-directed threats. Following initial threat, focal sampling and continuous recording were used to document interactions. During August 2007, 3002 minutes of observations were conducted on two groups, YA1 and YA2, which recorded 2156 human-directed threats. For each group (YA1 and YA2), total number of observed threats towards targets was significantly different [c2(3)=30.09, p<0.0001 and, c2(3)=1497.28, p<0.0001, respectively]. The greatest difference in threats occurred at YA2, where keepers and Chinese researchers received a higher number of threats (57% and 10%, respectively) and American researchers and tourists a lower number of threats (29% and 39%) than expected. Results suggest habituation and human density do not account for aggressive interactions while individual human behaviors may elicit threats. Positive correlations of monkey threats with human antagonistic behaviors for all target categories support this inference [r(32)=0.85, p<0.01]. Overall aggressive interactions appear to mediate individual variability in human and monkey antagonisms.