When humans voluntarily feed wildlife, it is referred to as provisioning. Although this may appear a harmless and fun activity for visiting tourists, these small acts of “kindness” can have profound effects on wildlife. For example, provisioning can lead to increased aggression among individuals monkeys in a social group, as they are competing over a monopolizable resource. Further, the provisioning of monkeys, like the ones pictured here, can result in negative outcomes such as aggression between humans and monkeys. If you are ever visiting an area that has urban monkeys such as these, be sure to observe them from a reasonable distance and do not provision them, no matter how cute they may seem.
[Photo and caption by Josephine Hubbard]
Hill, D. A. (1999). Effects of provisioning on the social behaviour of Japanese and rhesus macaques: implications for socioecology. Primates, 40(1), 187-198
Sabbatini, G., Stammati, M., Tavares, M. C. H., Giuliani, M. V., & Visalberghi, E. (2006). Interactions between humans and capuchin monkeys (Cebus libidinosus) in the Parque Nacional de Brasília, Brazil. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 97(2-4), 272-283.