Implement a ‘no-feeding of wild primates’ policy
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
The deliberate and long-term provision of food to wildlife by people, e.g. tourists, or for attracting tourists, can have a variety of negative impacts. For example, it can alter natural behavioural patterns and wildlife population levels, has resulted in the dependency of animals on the human provided food and their habituation to human contact, has increased intra and inter-species aggression, and has various health implications arising from artificial food sources causing injury and disease (Orams 2002). This intervention involves enforcing a ‘no-feeding of wild primates’ policy to prohibit the provision of food to primates.
The use of signage to warn people not to feed primates is discussed under ‘Put up signs to warn people about not feeding primates’. The use of garbage bins inaccessible to primates is discussed under ‘Install ‘primate-proof’ garbage bins’. Prohibiting people from consuming food in natural primate habitat is discussed under ‘Do not allow people to consume food within natural areas where primates can view them’.
Orams M.B. (2002) Feeding wildlife as a tourism attraction: a review of issues and impacts. Tourism Management, 23, 281–293.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled before-and-after study in 1950-2010 at multiple sites in Japan found that Japanese macaques Macaca fuscata were rapidly increasing in population size, conflict rate with farmers and forest damage at food-provisioned sites compared to non-provisioned sites, but reducing feeding resulted in lower productivity, population decreases, less crop-raiding and forest damage in the long term. The Takasakiyama population increased from 166 macaques in 1950, before food provisioning, to over 2000 in 1990, but then declined by almost 50% by 2011 after food provisioning was progressively reduced in 1973-1989 and then stopped (data in graphs). Reducing provisioning resulted initially in higher crop damage (data not provided). Birth rate was higher in sites with food provisioning (0.49-0.54 births/female/year) than in non-provisioned sites (0.27-0.35) but productivity declined after provisioning was limited and annual population growth reduced from 13% in 1952-1962 to 4% in 1965-1970, 3% in 1970-1980, 1.1% in 1980-1990 and -0.65% in 1990-2000. In 1952-1972 food provisioning took place at 41 free-ranging monkey parks to attract tourists and reduce crop damage; 30 naturally occurring populations and 11 sites with translocated ‘problem’ macaques. Provisioned foods (sweet potato, wheat, soybean and peanuts) were far more energy-rich than natural macaque food. Food provisioning by staff was reduced since 1965 and food provisioning by visitors was prohibited in 1993 at Takasakiyama.Study and other actions tested