Human–primate interfaces are expanding and, despite recent studies on primates from peri-urban environments, little research exists on the impact of agriculture and/or pasture areas on primate social behavior and health. We assessed how crop/pasture areas potentially alter social behavior and health of wild geladas (Theropithecus gelada) frequenting the unprotected area of Kundi (Ethiopia). We predicted that compared to pasture areas, crop areas (i) would be more challenging for geladas (prediction 1) and (ii) would have a greater impact on both aggressive and affiliative behavior, by reducing grooming time and enhancing competition (prediction 2). During January–May 2019 and December 2019–February 2020, we collected data (via scan, focal animal sampling, and video analyses) on direct human disturbance, external signs of pathologies and social behavior of 140 individuals from 14 one-male units and two all-male units. Animals experienced the highest level of human disturbance in crop areas (in line with prediction 1). Individuals from the groups preferentially frequenting crop areas showed the highest prevalence of external signs of pathologies consistent with chemical and biological contamination (alopecia/abnormally swollen parts). We collected 48 fecal samples. Samples from frequent crop users contained the highest rates of parasitic elements/gram (egg/larva/oocyst/cyst) from Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, a parasite common in human settlements of the Amhara region. In crop areas, subjects spent less time grooming but engaged in lower rates of intense aggression (in partial agreement with prediction 2). We speculate that the reduction in social behavior may be a tactic adopted by geladas to minimize the likelihood of detection and maximize food intake while foraging in crops.

Wild geladas (Theropithecus gelada) in crops—more than in pasture areas—reduce aggression and affiliation

Caselli, Marta
First
;
Zanoli, Anna;Dagradi, Carlo;Gallo, Alessandro;Norscia, Ivan
Co-last
2021-01-01

Abstract

Human–primate interfaces are expanding and, despite recent studies on primates from peri-urban environments, little research exists on the impact of agriculture and/or pasture areas on primate social behavior and health. We assessed how crop/pasture areas potentially alter social behavior and health of wild geladas (Theropithecus gelada) frequenting the unprotected area of Kundi (Ethiopia). We predicted that compared to pasture areas, crop areas (i) would be more challenging for geladas (prediction 1) and (ii) would have a greater impact on both aggressive and affiliative behavior, by reducing grooming time and enhancing competition (prediction 2). During January–May 2019 and December 2019–February 2020, we collected data (via scan, focal animal sampling, and video analyses) on direct human disturbance, external signs of pathologies and social behavior of 140 individuals from 14 one-male units and two all-male units. Animals experienced the highest level of human disturbance in crop areas (in line with prediction 1). Individuals from the groups preferentially frequenting crop areas showed the highest prevalence of external signs of pathologies consistent with chemical and biological contamination (alopecia/abnormally swollen parts). We collected 48 fecal samples. Samples from frequent crop users contained the highest rates of parasitic elements/gram (egg/larva/oocyst/cyst) from Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, a parasite common in human settlements of the Amhara region. In crop areas, subjects spent less time grooming but engaged in lower rates of intense aggression (in partial agreement with prediction 2). We speculate that the reduction in social behavior may be a tactic adopted by geladas to minimize the likelihood of detection and maximize food intake while foraging in crops.
2021
1
14
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10329-021-00916-8?fbclid=IwAR22dUTfUJFdSuLWjj_iHRkjqBpP0rvCJDMw3Ufuspi7wluZiuH2WYF6a5Y
Primates Behavioral change Social behavior Human impact Primate health Ethiopia
Caselli, Marta; Zanoli, Anna; Dagradi, Carlo; Gallo, Alessandro; Yazezew, Dereje; Tadesse, Abebe; Capasso, Michele; Ianniello, Davide; Rinaldi, Laura; Palagi, Elisabetta; Norscia, Ivan
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1789462
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