Behaviour 2019
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Unusual and Unexpected Behaviours of Coquerel’s Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
Malcolm S Ramsay1, Grazella Andrinambinina2, Miarisoa L Ramilison3, Coral Chell1,4. 1University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Université de Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Outside US/Canada, Madagascar; 3Université de Mahajanga, Mahajanga, Outside US/Canada, Madagascar; 4Bishop Burton College, Hull, Outside US/Canada, United Kingdom

Animals engage in a variety of unusual behaviors, many of which are never directly observed by researchers. This is especially true in species that are not the focus of long-term behavioral research projects. Local people who live alongside animals may be an untapped well of knowledge for previously undescribed behaviors. However, there are several considerations when collecting accounts of animal behavior from non-specialists, such as issues in translation, cultural misunderstandings, and power imbalances. We collected a series of accounts of Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) behaviors described by local people near Mariarano Village, northwestern Madagascar. Behaviors observed include consumption of domestic animals, conflict with farmers, and medicinal plant usage. In order to overcome some of the methodological issues with second-hand observations we conducted a survey of Propithecus experts to determine whether or not these behaviors are ubiquitous across the genus. Most of the behaviors we collected were not previously described, yet taken with the results of our survey they are likely to have occurred and thus should be given similar weighting as direct observations.