Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Visitors’ Attitudes Toward Non-Human Primates in a Free-Roaming Multi-Species Sanctuary (Monkeyland, South Africa)

Version 1 : Received: 29 July 2021 / Approved: 30 July 2021 / Online: 30 July 2021 (09:18:23 CEST)

How to cite: Lenzi, C.; Grasso, C.; Speiran, S. Visitors’ Attitudes Toward Non-Human Primates in a Free-Roaming Multi-Species Sanctuary (Monkeyland, South Africa). Preprints 2021, 2021070684 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0684.v1). Lenzi, C.; Grasso, C.; Speiran, S. Visitors’ Attitudes Toward Non-Human Primates in a Free-Roaming Multi-Species Sanctuary (Monkeyland, South Africa). Preprints 2021, 2021070684 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0684.v1).

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to investigate themes related to visitors’ perceptions of captive wildlife in particular, attitudes towards non-human primates (henceforth, primates). This research took place in free-roaming, multi-species primate sanctuary, Monkeyland (South Africa), where 400 visitors were interviewed using an anonymous survey both before and after attending a guided tour. The answers were divided into different categories, in order to standardize the motivations behind tourists’ choices. The results of the survey demonstrated that most visitors agree that a primate would not be a good companion animal. Visitors’ desire to touch primates was found to be positively correlated with desire for companion primates and inversely associated with visitor age. In response to: “would you like to touch a monkey?”, the majority of tourists who expressed this desire seemed aware that such interactions are not appropriate, with concern for animal welfare and human health. Of the various primate species present in the sanctuary, visitors preferred the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) and, generally speaking, expressed appreciation for primates’ “cuteness”. Our results indicate a general awareness by the visitors on the importance of animal welfare in the human interactions with captive wildlife, in agreement with the “hands-off” policy of Monkeyland primate sanctuary. We discuss the findings from a general to zooanthropological point of view, proposing some reflections on the attitudes of visitors toward non-human primates.

Keywords

human-wildlife interactions; non-human primates; zooanthropology; primate sanctuary; Lemur catta

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