Primate tourism is a rapidly growing industry with the potential to provide considerable conservation benefits. However, assessing the impact of tourists on the animals involved is vital to ensure that the conservation value of primate tourism is maximized. In this study, we compared body size, coat condition, and endoparasite diversity of wild, adult Barbary macaques exposed to different levels of tourism. Study animals belonged to three groups located in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco: "green group" (GG) and "scarlet group" (SG) were exposed to negligible/no tourism, while the "tourist group" (TG) was exposed to very high levels of tourism. We used photogrammetry to quantify body size, scored coat condition from photographs, and quantified endoparasite species number from fecal samples. For both males and females, TG animals had deeper stomachs and wider hips than SG and GG animals. The coat condition of TG males was worse than that of SG and GG males, but no difference between groups was seen for females. Fecal samples from TG males contained a greater mean number of protozoan species than did samples from SG and GG males; for females a similar difference was found between TG and GG, but not between TG and SG. This study provides evidence that tourism has impacts on the body size, coat condition, and endoparasite diversity of Barbary macaques at this site. Further study is required to assess whether such effects are detrimental to the health of these animals.
|Author Address||Centre for Research in Evolutionary and Environmental Anthropology, University of Roehampton, Holybourne Avenue, London SW15 4JD, UK.email@example.com|
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