Impacts of tourism on anxiety and physiological stress levels in wild male Barbary macaques

Publication year: 2011
Source: Biological Conservation, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 12 June 2011

Laëtitia, Maréchal , Stuart, Semple , Bonaventura, Majolo , Mohamed, Qarro , Michael, Heistermann , …

Wildlife tourism is a burgeoning global industry with the potential to make a significant contribution to the conservation of endangered species. However, a number of studies have provided evidence that tourists’ presence and behaviour may impact negatively on the animals involved, with potentially harmful consequences for their health, reproduction and population viability. Here, we investigate impacts of tourism on wild male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in Morocco, quantifying a behavioural index of animals’ anxiety (self-scratching) and a measure of their physiological stress levels (faecal glucocorticoid concentrations – FGCs). Four measures of tourist presence, number or proximity were explored: maximum number,…

 Highlights: ► We investigated impacts of tourism on anxiety and stress levels of wild male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in Morocco. ► High tourist numbers and the occurrence of interactions with tourists increased macaques’ anxiety levels. ► Macaques’ stress levels increased only when aggressive interactions with tourists occurred. ► These results can inform management of tourism at this site, and at other locations where tourists visit wild primates.