Faculté des sciences

Diana monkeys, Cercopithecus diana, adjust their anti-predator response behaviour to human hunting strategies

Bshary, Redouan

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2001, vol. 50, p. 251-256

In Taï National Park, Ivory Coast, humans with guns hunt monkeys for their meat. The poachers imitate animal calls to feign the presence of eagles or leopards, two predators to which monkeys react with high calling rates and approach. In the presence of humans, monkeys become silent and move off. A small area of the park is now avoided by poachers, due to the establishment of a field project on... Plus

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    Summary
    In Taï National Park, Ivory Coast, humans with guns hunt monkeys for their meat. The poachers imitate animal calls to feign the presence of eagles or leopards, two predators to which monkeys react with high calling rates and approach. In the presence of humans, monkeys become silent and move off. A small area of the park is now avoided by poachers, due to the establishment of a field project on chimpanzees in 1979. This offered the opportunity to investigate whether sudden changes in predation pressure lead to a rapid alteration in prey behaviour. Playback experiments, using groups of Diana monkeys, Cercopithecus diana, as subjects, revealed that the poachers' strategy works well in the home range of the habituated chimpanzee group. However, monkeys which are frequently exposed to poachers are rarely fooled by the imitations. Adaptive discrimination abilities can thus be acquired or lost within the lifespan of individual monkeys.