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The Development of Primate Raiding: Implications for Management and Conservation

  • Author(s): Strum, Shirley C.
  • et al.

Ecosystems and habitats are fast becoming human dominated, which means that more species, including primates, are compelled to exploit new human resources to survive and compete. Primate “pests” pose major management and conservation challenges. I here present the results from a unique opportunity to document how well-known individuals and groups respond to the new opportunity to feed on human foods. Data are from a long-term study of a single population in Kenya at Kekopey, near Gilgil, Kenya. Some of the naïve research baboons became raiders while others did not. I compare diet, activity budgets, and home range use of raiders and nonraiders both simultaneously, after the incursion of agriculture, and historically compared to the period before agriculture appeared. I present measures of the relative benefits (female reproduction) and costs (injuries, mortality, and survivorship) of incorporating human food into the diet and discuss why the baboons raid and their variations in raiding tendencies. Guarding and chasing are evaluated as control techniques. I also suggest conflict mitigation strategies by identifying the most likely options in different contexts. I end with a proposal for a rapid field assessment of human wildlife conflict involving primates.

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