Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Martin

Second Advisor

Dr. Herbert Covert

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Demmig-Adams

Abstract

Fragmentation, the division of continuous habitats into smaller patches of lower total area, isolated from each other by a matrix of dissimilar habitats, is an ever-increasing process that results in wild animals and people living in closer proximity with one another. Closeness of wild animals to people presents challenges. For example, in Northern Tanzania the village Mto Wa Mbu is located directly adjacent to Lake Manyara National Park. Mto Wa Mbu contains four types of localities: road, riverine forest (forest along waterways), crop fields, and human habitation. Both animals and people have access to all four of these habitats, which enable baboons to raid crops as well as human refuse. The accessibility of these human-modified habitats is the focus of this study. This study was conducted in Mto Wa Mbu to determine if olive baboons (Papio anubis) exhibited discernible behavioral patterns in the four localities of varying human disturbance. A total of 3,772 behaviors were recorded in visual scans across the members of the group. Instantaneous observations were made of the behavior displayed by the individual that were categorized into the following behaviors: eating, moving, resting, vigilance, aggression/submission, affiliative (reinforcement of social bonds through amicable behavior). Each habitat was statistically evaluated for a possible dependence on time of day of behaviors as well as behavior dependence on habitat. For the locality type of crop fields, only four scans were completed and the relationship between behaviors to this habitat type was insignificant. For the other three habitats (road, riverine forest, and human habitation), a statistically significant dependency of behavior on habitat could be established. The riverine forest provided an outlet for a more equal distribution of behaviors, baboons used human habitation for feeding on human refuse, and the high visibility of the road enabled the baboons to feed with low vigilance. Moreover, all subgroups’ behaviors in all other habitats (expect for the crop fields) were significantly dependent on the time of day. Understanding patterns of behavior and habitat use in changing habitats for species, such as crop-raiding olive baboons, is necessary to help conservationists manage the human-wildlife interface.

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