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Emory University

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


Human/wildlife conflict is a rapidly growing issue in the world today. As human population and development increase, wildlife habitat decreases, forcing humans and animals to share resources. One negative consequence of the human/wildlife interface is an alteration of behavior of wildlife in order to survive in new, high-stress environments. This study looks at the behavior of a troop of olive baboons residing on the border of Lake Manyara National Park in Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania. These animals leave the park each morning and spend their days in four surrounding habitats with varying levels of human presence: the main road, riverine forest, national park buildings and agricultural land. The purpose of this study was to determine if baboon behavior changed according to habitat. A total of 320 scans of adult male and female behaviors and 105,143 seconds of alpha male follows were conducted over 12, 5-hour days of data collection alternating between morning and afternoon observation. Eating, moving, resting, vigilance, aggression and “other” behaviors were recorded for the troop scans and submissive and affiliative behaviors were recorded in addition to the above behaviors for the alpha male. Data was analyzed descriptively and statistically (α=0.5). The troop scan results showed that baboon behavior was dependent on sex (p=2.8476E-07) and time of day (males: p=3.00721E-09, females: p=1.94408E-36) and that there was a difference in eating/drinking (p=0.04011) and resting (p=0.00184) between habitats. There was a significant difference between alpha male aggressive behaviors in the morning and afternoon (p=0.02362), resting between the main road and farmland (p=0.00807), the riverine forest and farmland (p=0.00244) and a difference in submissive behavior between the main road and the riverine forest (p=0.02857). The baboons spent the least amount of time in the two habitats with the most human presence: the farmland (13/320 scans) and the national park buildings (59/320 scans). Overall, the behavior of baboons in Mto wa Mbu is changing in response to human presence; changes will continue and will become more significant if a compromise between humans and wildlife is not made.


Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy


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