Wednesday, 4 December 2019

How species in the wild are managing the risks and rewards of sharing space with humans

NOVEMBER 25, 2019 

by Elizabeth Allen, University of Lincoln

Endangered monkeys living in the wild are intelligently adapting their lifestyle to fit with their human neighbors, learning to avoid manmade risks and exploiting increased contact with people, new research has revealed. 

The study, which looks specifically at the behavior of an endangered monkey species, reveals that even in national parks where human presence is reduced and regulated, the animals carry out careful calculations and modify their natural behavior to balance the pros and cons of living in close proximity to humans. 

It reveals the negative impact that consuming human foods can have on the physical health of the monkeys, and highlights the need for new and sustainable conservation programs to save the growing number of endangered species in their natural habitats

Barbary macaques are an endangered species of monkeys restricted to the forests of Morocco and Algeria, with an introduced population also living on the Rock of Gibraltar. The wild population in North Africa has dramatically declined in the last decades. 

The new study, led by Dr. Bonaventura Majolo from the University of Lincoln, UK, involved a detailed examination of the effects of human activity on wild Barbary macaques in Ifrane National Park in Morocco. 

Dr. Majolo said: "When we observe animals in the wild we often talk about a 'landscape of fear.' This term refers to the decisions that animals make when they choose whether or not to avoid an area where the risk of predation is highest; weighing up the risk of attack against the possible rewards to be found there. 

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