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Macaques in farms and folklore: exploring the human–nonhuman primate interface in Sulawesi, Indonesia


9 February 2010 Science News

Macaques in farms and folklore: exploring the human-nonhuman primate interface in Sulawesi, Indonesia 

American Journal of Primatology | Erin P. Riley and Nancy E. C. Priston | February 2010

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The island of Sulawesi is an ecologically diverse and anthropogenically complex region in the Indonesian archipelago; it is home to multiple macaque species and a key locus of human-nonhuman primate interconnections. Here, we review the ethnoprimatology of Sulawesi by exploring two primary domains of the human-macaque interface: overlapping resource use and cultural perceptions of macaques. Crop raiding is the primary form of overlapping resource use. While the raiding of cacao plantations predominates in Central and South Sulawesi, subsistence crops (e.g., sweet potato and maize) are most vulnerable on Buton, Southeast Sulawesi. Despite this overlap levels of conflict are generally low, with farmers showing considerable tolerance. This tolerance can be explained by positive perceptions of the macaques despite their crop raiding behavior, and the finding that in some areas macaques figure prominently in local folklore, hence affording them protection. These findings provide some hope for the future management and conservation of these endemic macaques. Am. J. Primatol. 72:848-854, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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