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Sidi Abdallah, Morocco

El Alami A.,University of Caddy Ayyad | Van Lavieren E.,Moroccan Primate Conservation Foundation | Rachida A.,Sultan Moulay Slimane University | Chait A.,University of Caddy Ayyad
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2012

The Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus is a very adaptable primate species occupying a wide range of habitats in Morocco and Algeria. Several groups of this endangered macaque can be found in tourist sites, where they are affected by the presence of visitors providing food to them. We compare the activity budgets and the diet of semiprovisioned and wild-feeding groups of Barbary macaques in the central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco from February to August 2008. We used instantaneous scan sampling at 15-min intervals. The behaviors included in the activity budget were feeding, moving, foraging, resting, and aggressive display. Food items were grouped into seven categories. We found no differences between the two groups in the daily percentages of records attributed to feeding. The semiprovisioned group spent significantly more time engaged in resting and aggressive behavior, and foraged and moved significantly less than the wild-feeding group. There was no significant difference between the two groups in time spent eating leaves, fruits, or roots and bark. The semiprovisioned group, however, spent significantly less time per day feeding on herbs, seeds, and acorns than the wild-feeding group. Human food accounted for 26% of the daily feeding records for the semiprovisioned group and 1% for the wild-feeding group. Our findings agree with previous studies and indicate that in the tourist site, where food is highly clumped, macaques decreased foraging time yet showed higher levels of contest competition. Our results support the common claim that the diet of the Barbary macaque is highly flexible, differing among its varied habitats. Conservation efforts for the Barbary macaques should take into account the changes in behavior that human-modified environments may cause. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

El Alami A.,University of Caddy Ayyad | Chait A.,University of Caddy Ayyad
Mammalia | Year: 2014

We collected data on the terrestriality of two groups of Barbary macaques over a 7-month period: one group lived in a tourist site, while the other group lived in a wild site. The habitats of the study sites were classified similarly, but the tourist site is the only location where tourist and commercial activities take place. The present study indicates that the availability of human food and strong human disturbance can have a significant effect on the terrestrial behavior of the species. The two groups did not differ in the proportion of daily records devoted to terrestrial feeding, but the tourist group spent a significantly lower percentage of daily records in terrestrial foraging, moving and resting, while performing more terrestrial aggressive displays than the wild group. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the proportion of terrestrial feeding on fruits; however, the tourist group had lower daily percentages of terrestrial feeding on leaves, seeds and acorns, roots and barks, and herbs, while it spent higher daily percentages of terrestrial feeding on human food.

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