Factors Predicting Provisioning of Macaques by Humans at Tourist Sites

Sengupta, A. and Radhakrishna, S. (2020). Factors Predicting Provisioning of Macaques by Humans at Tourist Sites. International Journal of Primatology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-020-00148-5
Sengupta, A. and Radhakrishna, S
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International Journal of Primatology (2020)

Incidental primate tourism is prevalent in many primate habitat countries. In these scenarios, although the primary motivation of the tourists may not be to interact with primates, they may do so because of the presence of primates in tourist spots. Provisioning of primates is a common behavior that humans engage in at these sites. While several studies have assessed the impact of tourism or provisioning on primates, understanding why humans provision and its sociocultural predictors are primary requirements for designing primate management and/or conservation plans. We assessed these issues using questionnaire surveys at two sites where people provision macaques in India: in Himachal Pradesh and Goa (N = 203). People were driven to feed macaques by the desire to observe them closely, concern over decreasing food resources for wildlife, and religious affinities. The best model for Goa included age, gender, religion, and education as predictors of whether respondents provisioned; people with religious affinities apart from Hinduism were ca. 24 times as likely to provision as Hindus, and respondents with the highest level of education were 54 times as likely to provision as those with the lowest. At Himachal Pradesh, the best model contained religion and education as predictors. The trend was the reverse of that at Goa; people following Hinduism and those with lower education were more likely to provision. Our results show that no singular template is suitable for managing human–primate interactions across sites. We suggest more studies involving diverse sites be conducted to assess region-specific issues for ensuring human–primate coexistence.

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Dr. Asmita Sengupta
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