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Title: Investigating primate tourism in Morocco using a multidisciplinary approach
Author: Maréchal, Laëtitia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 8240
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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Wildlife tourism is a growing industry, with potential benefits for the conservation of endangered species. In this thesis, I explore wildlife tourism at a site in Morocco, using a multidisciplinary approach which considers both the attitudes and expectations of tourists, and the responses of, and impacts on, Barbary macaques. Different types of tourists, mostly Moroccan nationals, visited the site and frequently gave food to the macaques. The desire to feed the monkeys appeared to be driven by different motivations such as the reward from sharing food, the creation of a relationship or taking control over these animals. Such interactions therefore shape a particular tourist experience; this can lead in some cases to a degree of disappointment about the authenticity of the wildlife experience. Considering how the monkeys responded to tourists, I found evidence that they use a range of behavioural coping mechanisms to cope with the potentially conflicting motivational situations associated with the risks of interacting with tourists and the attraction of potential food. I propose a framework to aid understanding of how the trade-off between threat and attraction can lead to different coping mechanisms being deployed. Looking at potential effects of tourist provisioning on the health of the macaques, I found evidence for potential negative impacts in terms of increased risk of disease transmission, elevated stress levels and increased body size. The results also highlighted the key issue of not knowing what is optimum health in wild animals, making interpretation of the findings difficult. The multidisciplinary approach adopted in this thesis provided a useful tool to explore different aspects of primate tourism at the site from both tourist and animal standpoints. This approach led to the development of a new concept, optimal provisioning, which takes into consideration the different costs and benefits of provisioning wildlife to the various parties involved. It is hoped that this approach will prove useful in developing pragmatic solutions to the question of whether and how much provisioning may be acceptable in wildlife tourism contexts.
Supervisor: Semple, Stuart ; MacLarnon, Ann ; Marvin, Garry Sponsor: University of Roehampton ; International Primatological Society ; Santander
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: primates ; Tourism ; Human-wildlife realtionships