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Roadside monkeys: anthropogenic effects on moor macaque (Macaca maura) ranging behavior in Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia

A Correction to this article was published on 24 August 2021

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Abstract

A growing body of research focuses on how anthropogenic factors affect the behavior and ecology of primates and their ecosystems. Infrastructural development, such as roads, is an increasingly pervasive anthropogenic impact that destroys primate habitat, affects the distribution and dispersal of primates, and facilitates human–primate interactions. At our field site in Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia, a major road bisects the habitat of the endangered moor macaque (Macaca maura). Beginning in 2015, we observed a behavioral shift by our main study group: they began spending more time along the road foraging in trash pits and waiting for provisions from vehicles. Our objective in this study was to examine how access to anthropogenic foods has affected the group’s ranging behavior by comparing ranging data collected before (2010–2011) and after the shift (2016–2017). In contrast to what we expected, home ranges were significantly larger and daily travel distance was significantly longer after the shift compared to before. As predicted, mean distance to the road decreased after the shift. These results likely reflect the irregular and spatially dispersed nature of provisioning at this site. The macaques appear to be attracted to the road because it presents opportunities to obtain palatable and energy-dense foods. Our results indicate that moor macaques are able to flexibly adjust their ranging behavior in response to anthropogenic impacts. However, given the risks of being in proximity to roads and humans, management of this emerging human–macaque interface is needed.

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Data availability

The data sets analyzed for the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Change history

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Kementerian Negara Riset dan Teknologi Republik Indonesia (RISTEK) for permission to conduct research in Indonesia, Taman Nasional Bantimurung-Bulusaraung (TNBABUL) for permission to work in the park, and Universitas Hasanuddin for supporting the research. We are grateful to Pak Haro, Hendra, and Amir for their invaluable research assistance. We also thank Kate Jameson for her assistance in the field, Hendra and Lavinia Germani for their images, and Chaeril (TNBABUL) for producing the map of the study site. Funding for the research was provided by San Diego State University’s President’s Leadership Fund and University Grants Program (PI: Erin P. Riley) and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR; PI: Monica Carosi). We would also like to thank the handling editor and the anonymous reviewers whose insights and useful comments helped improve this manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by a SDSU President’s Leadership Fund grant, an SDSU University Grants Program award, and by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.

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Contributions

EPR originally formulated the idea; EPR, KSM, and CS conducted fieldwork; CAS and JST conducted the spatial analysis; CAS and EPR performed statistical analyses; EPR wrote the manuscript with input from CAS, KSM, CS, JTS, MC, and PON.

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Correspondence to Erin P. Riley.

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We consulted the ASP/IPS Code of Best Practices for Field Primatology when designing and conducting this research. The research complied with protocols approved by the SDSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, IACUC (APF #14-03-006R) and adhered to the legal requirements for foreigners conducting research in Indonesia.

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Riley, E.P., Shaffer, C.A., Trinidad, J.S. et al. Roadside monkeys: anthropogenic effects on moor macaque (Macaca maura) ranging behavior in Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Primates 62, 477–489 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-021-00899-6

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Keywords

  • Provisioning
  • Road ecology
  • Home range
  • Human–primate interactions
  • Habituation
  • Flexibility