Abstract # 2807 Event # 117:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 10:30 AM-10:40 AM: Session 19 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


EVIDENCE OF TOURIST-INFLUENCED BEHAVIORAL CHANGES IN WHITE-FACED CAPUCHINS (CEBUS CAPUCINUS) IN MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA INCLUDING AN EXPLORATION OF TOURIST ATTITUDES TOWARDS MONKEY PRESENCE.

L. Kauffman1,2
1DePaul University, Department of Biology, 2325 North Clifton, Chicago, IL 60614, USA, 2University of Florida
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Despite recent, rapid increases in wildlife-based tourism, few studies focus on the impacts of tourism on primates. Furthermore, knowledge of tourists’ views of primates is needed to improve education programs that may mitigate the results of increased tourism. In this study I compare home range size and diet of one troop of 14-17 monkeys in Costa Rica in 1998 to data collected 11 years earlier. I predicted that home range size and consumption of naturally occurring food would decrease. I also interviewed tourists to understand more about their interactions with monkeys. I predicted that tourists would have a positive opinion of the monkeys, see the presence of the monkeys as a reason to visit the park, and think it was acceptable to feed the monkeys. I collected 79.4 hours of behavioral data in March and April 1998 via focal and ad libitum methods and 50 tourists were interviewed. The monkeys were found to eat decreased amounts of naturally occurring foods [X2(2)=102, P<0.001], and to have a smaller home range. In addition, 84% of tourists did not think it was acceptable to feed the monkeys, 34% visited the park to see monkeys and 48% had a positive view of the monkeys. This research indicates that increased tourism has affected one population of capuchins which could have negative population and ecosystem level consequences.