Exploitation of anthropogenic foods has profound effects on various aspects of the behavior and ecology of nonhuman primates. On the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, incentives to exploit novel resources are high and most local chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) feed on anthropogenic foods. Here we investigate the foraging profile, activity budget, and ranging behavior of a Peninsula group that feeds exclusively on natural foods. We predicted that the group would exploit the marine foods available to them and feed more extensively on subterranean foods, spend more time feeding and traveling, and occupy a larger area and travel further than groups that feed on anthropogenic foods, and groups elsewhere that occupy highly productive habitats. We tracked the group using handheld GPS units, and recorded behavioral data using instantaneous scan sampling in four seasons through 13 months. Our predictions were supported with the study group feeding on marine foods during all for seasons, but allocating a small percentage (<5%) of their total feeding time to exploiting these foods. Also, the group used a greater area (45.3 km2) and traveled further (5.9 km/day), and allocated more time to feeding and traveling, than previously studied groups on the Peninsula that exploit anthropogenic foods. These findings highlight behavioral variation in baboons associated with anthropogenic food use. Comparison of our results with those reported elsewhere should allow management authorities to more accurately predict changes in behavior of cercopithecoid monkeys as their access to anthropogenic foods is gradually restricted.
International Journal of Primatology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 28, 2017
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