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Anthropogenic influences on the behavioural ecology of urban vervet monkeys

Thatcher, H (2019) Anthropogenic influences on the behavioural ecology of urban vervet monkeys. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

An animal’s behaviour is dependent upon its ability to adapt to environmental changes and available resources; consequently, generalist omnivorous species thrive in the continually developing urban landscape and preferentially choose the urban setting over its rural counterpart. Our understanding of wildlife’s flexibility to anthropogenic change is developing; however, our knowledge of flexibility to the urban landscape is limited, particularly for primate species. Understanding an animal’s ability to adapt behaviourally to urban challenges is necessary to provide guidance for human-wildlife management plans. This thesis focuses broadly on the behavioural ecology of the adaptive, generalist vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus). We use an integrative approach to assess the behavioural ecology of urban vervet monkeys under quantified anthropogenic pressures, assessing both positive (human-food) and negative (human-aggression) consequences of urban living. We use the previously neglected interaction between positive and negative human influences to assess ranging patterns and time budgets, showing a complex attraction-avoidance scale within the urban landscape. We also used social network analysis to show the importance of human-food consumption on vervet monkey social structure, both at the group and individual level. Finally, we suggest the use of a simple parasite protocol to monitor host-parasite responses to urbanisation. Overall, we provide primary evidence on the behavioural ecology and strategies of urban vervet monkeys, creating a foundation for future research on urban primates. We highlight trends in our findings, crucially the central value of human-food to vervet monkey’s behavioural flexibility. We apply this knowledge to suggest management recommendations, that future strategies should focus primarily on education to prevent opportunities for vervet monkeys to consume human-food, for the benefit of primate-human cohabitation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human-wildlife cohabitation; Ethnoprimatology; Behavioural flexibility
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 08:32
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2019 08:32
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00010547
Supervisors: Koyama, N
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10547

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