Provisioning by tourists affects the behaviours but not the body condition of Mareweba rock-wallabies (Petrogale mareeba)

Hodgson, Amanda J., Marsh, Helene, and Corkeron, Peter J. (2004) Provisioning by tourists affects the behaviours but not the body condition of Mareweba rock-wallabies (Petrogale mareeba). Wildlife Research, 31 (4). pp. 451-456.

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Abstract

Feeding free-ranging native animals is a form of wildlife-based tourism that is particularly popular in Australia as a result of the cryptic nature of many native species. The colony of Mareeba rock-wallabies (Petrogale mareeba) at 'Granite Gorge', North Queensland, where tourists feed a spatially defined subset of animals daily, was studied to determine the effects of provisioning on their behaviour and body condition. Provisioned P. mareeba had higher activity levels, including higher aggression levels, and spent more time performing contact behaviours (including mutual and non-mutual allogrooming) than did non-provisioned animals. Possible explanations for increased aggression include competition over provisioned food and territorial defence. Increased contact behaviours may serve to reduce tension caused by provisioning. The diurnal activities of the provisioned rock-wallabies were dictated by the activities of tourists. Provisioned rock-wallabies emerged from their shelters to receive food much earlier each afternoon than did the unprovisioned animals. The level of autogrooming exhibited by the provisioned wallabies was much higher than that of the unprovisioned animals, presumably as a thermoregulatory response to the high afternoon temperatures. Although provisioned P. mareeba feed more, their higher activity levels explain the lack of difference in the body condition between the two groups.

Item ID: 7259
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: feeding; rock-wallabies; tourism
ISSN: 1448-5494
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2010 01:05
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 5
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