Behaviour 2019
Identifying the patterns, drivers, and consequences of human encounters for savannah baboons
Elise N. Paietta1,2, Chelsea J. Weibel1, David A. Jansen1, Raphael S. Mututua3, J. Kinyua Warutere3, Long'ida Siodi3, Laurence R. Gesquiere2, Vincent Obanda4, Susan C. Alberts2, Elizabeth A. Archie1. 1University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, United States; 2Duke University, Durham, NC, United States; 3Amboseli Baboon Research Project, Amboseli National Park, , Kenya; 4Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi, , Kenya

Around the world, wild non-human primates are increasingly encountering people. To date, long-term research that identifies the multi-faceted drivers and consequences of human encounters is rare. Here we use 27 years of data on human-baboon encounters in the Amboseli ecosystem to: (i) identify spatial, environmental, and group-level predictors of human-baboon encounters, (ii) test whether human-built waterholes for livestock alter baboon ranging patterns, and (iii) test the reproductive and health consequences of experiencing human encounters for baboons. We found that the primary driver of human-baboon encounters was water availability. During the dry season, pastoralists migrate into baboon habitats, leading to increased encounter rates, especially near human-constructed waterholes. Moreover, the construction and abandonment of these waterholes significantly altered the baboons’ ranging patterns. For reproductive and health consequences, human-baboon encounters were linked to decreased offspring survival and increased parasite richness in female baboons. Overall, our results help reveal the ecology and health of primates in a future replete with increasing human encounters.