When a macaque has the choice between two lianas

  • Help
  • Find
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Blog - Bioenergetics for management and conservation
Posts

About

About and Contact

Anglet, France

Bioenergetics for management and conservation is a section of the Evolutionary dynamics and management application course at University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour (Anglet, France). In this course, 2nd

Read more

You are here:
  • >
  • > When a macaque has the choice between two lianas

When a macaque has the choice between two lianasby Marie Delbasty and Julie Viana

Published by Charlotte Recapet the May 10, 2021 on 8:00 AM

Two populations of moor macaques (Macaca maura) were studied in their natural environment in South Sulawesi, Indonesia in order to understand their use of two different habitats in karst forest.

Moor macaque is a species currently classified as "endangered" by the IUCN, mainly due to the disturbance and fragmentation of its habitat. That is why, in order to develop adequate conservation plans and management strategies, it is essential to study the patterns of habitat use in relation to the distribution of essential food resources.

Concerning the two types of habitat, they were characterized according to the vegetation present and its abundance as well as the topography and the presence of any trace of human activity.

The two habitats of this forest are in fact distinguished in two essential aspects:

The forest situated at the highest altitude with a steep slope, has few food resources but is not accessible to humans

vs.

The gently sloping forest, rich in resources but frequented by humans.

In order to carry out this study, each group of macaques was observed after having been accustomed to the presence of the scientists. The largest group consisted of about 30 individuals while the smallest group consisted of 18 macaques. The behaviour of the smallest group was studied from June to November 2016 while the largest group was studied from September 2014 to February 2015. Behavioural activities were defined as feeding, foraging, locomotion, social interactions and resting.

Although both habitats are used on a daily basis by each population, the analysis revealed that for both groups, the only behaviour that differed primarily between the two habitat types was time spent feeding. They spent more time feeding in the more food-rich forest habitat. The larger group spent more time overall in the food-rich forest while the smaller group spent more time in the food-poor forest.

The habitat with fewer resources is more of a refuge area for the macaques as they have no real predators and humans are the main threat. The larger group's use of a more productive but riskier habitat may be due to its history of provisioning, which may have allowed its individuals to have less fear of encountering humans. On the other hand, the individuals of the other group have never experienced provisioning. Another possible explanation is group size. Indeed, individuals in the larger group have less need to be vigilant because of their numbers, compared to the smaller group. In addition, the larger group might dominate the other group from a competitive point of view and thus be given priority for benefiting from resources.

In this context, macaques seem to be ecologically flexible, able to exploit the karst forest as a whole and to cope with human disturbance. It is important to protect the forest to allow the species to persist as habitat fragmentation threatens its survival. Thus, the management of this area would consist of balancing the needs of humans and macaques, and one of the solutions could be to educate local people on the protection of the species.

In a global context of loss of many species, the ideal would be to be able to leave in peace those for whom this is possible. Indeed, it seems preferable not to allow humans to access this area for the good of these macaques especially since this area is probably home to most of the remaining populations. Indeed, forest habitat with more food resources is a crucial part of the landscape for the survival of moor macaques in southern Sulawesi.

Thus, a question then arises:

would it be possible to let these macaques enjoy their habitats in peace while moving from one liana to another like Tarzan and Jane? To be continued…

Read the full study: Albani A., Cutini M., Germani L., Riley E. P., Oka Ngakan P. and Carosi M. (2020) Activity budget, home range, and habitat use of moor macaques (Macaca maura) in the karst forest of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Primates 61, 673–684 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-020-00811-8).

Creative Commons License
This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Fields with an asterisk * are mandatory