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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The authors wish to thank the Goa and Himachal Pradesh State Forest Departments for their support. Rupesh Gawde assisted with field work and Shaurabh Anand helped with maps. A part of this work was presented at the 27th International Primatological Society Congress held in Nairobi, Kenya August 19–25, 2018. The authors wish to thank the organizers of the symposium where this work was presented for their kind invitation. This work was supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (Grant No. SERB/F/I0032/2016-17) awarded to SR. The authors also thank Dr. Joanna M. Setchell and the two anonymous reviewers for their extremely helpful comments that helped improve the manuscript immensely.
Handling Editor: Joanna M. Setchell
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Sengupta, A., Radhakrishna, S. Factors Predicting Provisioning of Macaques by Humans at Tourist Sites. Int J Primatol 41, 471–485 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-020-00148-5
- Bonnet macaque
- Incidental tourism
- India provisioning
- Rhesus macaque