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Title: Small scale human-primate behavioural interactions in Amazonian Ecuador
Author: Papworth, Sarah Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 0776
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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The investigation of predator-prey interactions has a long history in ecology, but most studies have focused on the lethal effects of non-human predators. Population declines of prey species because of human hunting are well documented, and much effort has been dedicated to quantify hunting sustainability. However, non-lethal effects of human hunting may also impact hunted species. This thesis aims to integrate methodologies from various disciplines to study the behaviour of Waorani hunters in Amazonian Ecuador, and the behaviour of one of their primary prey groups, primates. In conservation biology, various assumptions are made about hunter spatial behaviour, such as the use of uniform circular areas around communities for resource extraction. This research demonstrates that these assumptions are not valid in the study system, and develops an alternate method for determining hunting pressure. Methods from animal behaviour are used to describe the spatial distribution of hunters and non-hunters. Interviews are also used to investigate perceptions of prey animals by the Waorani, with a particular focus on the role of primates. Primate behaviour is investigated in the context of non-lethal effects of human hunting. Changes in short and long term behavioural patterns are demonstrated using experiments with Poeppigi’s woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppigii) and observations of red titi monkeys (Callicebus discolor). Key differences in behaviour were found between groups with and without recent exposure to human hunters. These differences suggest human hunting of primates has additional non-lethal effects which should be considered when assessing hunting sustainability. Behaviour is recognised as an important component of human-environment interactions, yet the behaviour of humans and the animals they interact with is often overlooked. This thesis investigates behavioural interactions by focusing on individuals and groups on a small geographic and temporal scale, quantifying these interactions in the context of human hunting, and considering their implications for conservation.
Supervisor: Milner-Gulland, E. J. ; Slocombe, Katie Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; Natural Environment Research Council ; Company of Biologists ; Society for Experimental Biology
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral