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Activity budget, home range, and habitat use of moor macaques (Macaca maura) in the karst forest of South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Abstract

Primate behavior can be responsive to the different ecological pressures associated with different habitats, as well as to the effects of direct and indirect anthropogenic disturbance. The karst forest ecosystem of South Sulawesi (Indonesia) represents one of the few intact forests available for residual populations of the moor macaque, but our understanding of its habitat use is limited. In the present study, this gap in knowledge was addressed by observing the activity and habitat use of two groups of moor macaques and by assessing the suitability of different habitats in the karst forest. Through a fine-scale vegetation analysis of 1 ha of forest in Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, we identified the presence of two distinct habitats that differ in terms of forest structure and composition. The karst plain forest (KPF) provided a greater abundance and diversity of food resources than the karst tower forest (KTF). In addition, anthropogenic disturbance was high in the KPF but low in the KTF. Behavioral data collected via group scans indicate that the macaques devoted more time to feeding activities when in the KPF, suggesting an ability to adjust their feeding behavior to meet their nutritional needs. However, the larger of the two groups used the food-rich KPF more than expected, implying that the KTF may represent a valuable refuge for the smaller group, as it is a less risky portion of its home range. The results of this study therefore provide novel information on the ecology of moor macaques and their habitats that can inform conservation planning for remnant populations.

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Acknowledgements

We are indebted to the former and current Head of Administration Section at BABUL-NP, Pak Dedy Asriady and Pak Abdul Azis Bakry, for their assistance and logistical support. We are grateful to former senior ranger Pak Haro and rangers Pak Pado, Jack, and Hendra for their invaluable commitment in the field, and to Cristina Sagnotti (Hasanuddin University, Indonesia) and Leonardo Sale (University of Turin, Italy) for their collaboration. We would also like to thank Amiruddin Bin Dahlan for his precious help in the field and mama Aco and her family for providing us with accommodation. We kindly acknowledge Dr. Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University, UK) for comments on early drafts of this manuscript, Dr. Paolo Piras (Roma Tre University, Italy) for his statistical support, and Federico Romiti (Roma Tre University, Italy) for his graphic design support. Finally, we thank the handling editor, Dr. Michael Huffman, and two anonymous reviewers, whose comments greatly improved this manuscript. This work was supported by a Safari Ravenna Zoo’s grant for conservation to MC, and Roma Tre University doctoral funds granted to AA. This research was carried out using exclusively noninvasive methods, and all research protocols reported in this manuscript were reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia. This research also adhered to all legal requirements for foreigners conducting research in Indonesia. Permits to conduct research in Indonesia were issued by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia (195/SIP/FRP/SM/VII/2014; 65/SIP/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/III/2016); permits to conduct research and to collect samples in a protected area were issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (SI.49/BTNBABUL-1/KEHATI/2014; SI.14/BTNBABUL-1/2016; S.47/KKH-2/2015; SK.396/KSDAE/SET/KSA.2/10/2016).

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Correspondence to Alessandro Albani.

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Albani, A., Cutini, M., Germani, L. et al. Activity budget, home range, and habitat use of moor macaques (Macaca maura) in the karst forest of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Primates 61, 673–684 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-020-00811-8

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Keywords

  • Sulawesi macaques
  • Forest structure and composition
  • Feeding ecology
  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Conservation