Zoological Studies

Vol. 60, 2021

(update: 2021.07.06; 09.16)

Influence of Visitors on the Time Budget, Ranging and Strata Use of Lowe’s Monkey (Cercopithecus lowei) at Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana

Núria Badiella-Giménez1, Bright Obeng Kankam2,3,*, and Llorenç Badiella4


1West African Primate Conservation Action, C/o Accra Zoo PO Box M239, Accra, Ghana. E-mail: nuria.badiella@wapca.org (Badiella-Giménez)
2Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (CSIR-FORIG), Kumasi, Ghana. *Correspondence: E-mail: bokankam@csir-forig.org.gh (Kankam). Tel: +233244519480.
3Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB., Canada.
4Servei d’Estadística Aplicada, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès 08193, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: badiella@mat.uab.es (Badiella)

Received 12 December 2020 / Accepted 6 June 2021
Communicated by Teng-Chiu Lin

Wildlife tourism could be a conservation tool; however, it may disrupt the natural behaviors of wild animals. We examined how wildlife tourism affects Lowe’s monkeys (Cercopithecus lowei) at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, central Ghana. We examined and compared the time budget, aggression patterns, home range size and strata use of two C. lowei groups—one with a high level of provisioning by visitors/tour guides (HP group) versus one with a low level of provisioning by visitors/tour guides (LP group). We found evidence that the HP group fed less and rested more than the LP group. The HP group significantly increased the time spent feeding and decreased their time resting, but no significant differences were recorded for moving or socializing either in the presence of small or big groups of visitors (i.e., 1–10 visitors or > 10 visitors). In the presence of one to ten visitors, the HP group monkeys increased the use of ground by 22.10% and decreased the use of medium and high tree strata by 15.43% and 11.6%, respectively. Agonistic behaviors (i.e., threat, chase, and attack) were three times higher in the HP group (e.g., open-jawed gaze gesture or head-bobbing). In the presence of visitors, aggression in the HP group increased from 12.81% to 30.18%. The home range size of the C. lowei HP group was smaller (4.68 ha) compared to the LP group (14.25 ha) (i.e., 50.56% difference). The LP group spent significantly less time socializing and more time moving. They fed more on fruits and insects. On average, the daily travel of LP group was 0.58 km more than the HP group (i.e., 22.80% difference), and the former group also spent significantly more time in the mid strata of the canopy. Our results showed that continued provisioning of the monkeys with human foods is detrimental to their natural behavior of the monkeys and could have negative long-term effects on the conservation efforts for the species.

Key words: Activity Pattern, Aggression, Cercopithecus lowei, Home Range, Strata, Wildlife Tourism.

Citation: Badiella-Giménez N, Kankam BO, Badiella L. 2021. Influence of visitors on the time budget, ranging and strata use of Lowe’s Monkey (Cercopithecus lowei) at Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana. Zool Stud 60:51. doi:10.6620/ZS.2021.60-51.