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Zoo visitors influence behaviour and enclosure use in lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus)

Jeffrey, Nicola (2010) Zoo visitors influence behaviour and enclosure use in lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus). University of Chester.

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Abstract

In order to assess the impact that zoo visitors had on captive lion-tailed macaque behaviour, an observational study was conducted on five individual macaques housed at Chester Zoo. From the literature review it was established that zoo visitors may have an effect on the behaviour of captive primates. However, too few studies had been conducted on the effect zoo visitors may have on lion-tailed macaques. As the species is endangered, any research that can shed light on how they are coping in captivity was considered vital. The behaviour of the macaques, and their vertical location within the enclosure was observed during times of high, medium and low visitor presence. Also, both visitor numbers and visitor coverage of the macaque enclosure were recorded. It was found that visitors did not affect the macaques’ social behaviour, but they did affect non-social behaviour. Visitors also had an impact on the vertical location of the macaques within the enclosure. The present study was one of the first to indentify a visitor effect on lion-tailed macaques in an enriched enclosure. From the study it was suggested that zoo visitor effects may be alleviated by the use of a retreat space within the macaque enclosure. Future research may consider not only the vertical location of the macaques, but also whether they spend more time near the front or back of the enclosure in relation to visitor numbers.

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