Globally, urbanization leads to increases in the human-wildlife interface. Within these spaces, urban wildlife must navigate complex ‘natural’ and anthropogenic habitats. Among primates, members of the genus Macaca are often highly synanthropic, living alongside humans across varied cultural and ecological contexts. Here, I examine three populations of urban macaques: long-tailed macaques from Bali, Indonesia, and Singapore, and Barbary macaques from Gibraltar. While each population has unique cultural, environmental, and ecological backdrops, the three sites share many commonalities, including extensive overlap between humans and macaques. Here, I pair phylogeographic, landscape genetic, and GPS-Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approaches to test how the anthropogenic landscape, demographics, and other variables impact urban primate populations. This combined, technology-informed approach is then applied to issues of urban primate population management.
First, I characterize long-tailed macaque populations at a broad phylogeographic scale using mitochondrial DNA. The phylogeny uncovers dozens of newly defined haplotypes within Bali and Singapore and highlights island-specific haplogroups within the composite dataset. Additionally, analysis of Y DNA across Bali calls into question the traditional divide between continental and insular populations within Southeast Asia. A complementary population genetic approach is used to examine within-island mitochondrial diversity and structure. Population genetic analyses identified major differences in population structure between the two islands largely related to differential access to human food resources.
I complemented these approaches with GPS collar studies of macaque ranging patterns. Ranging patterns characterized and compared Gibraltar’s Barbary macaques to Singapore’s long-tailed macaques. Analyses uncovered significant seasonal variation in daily ranging patterns as well as species-specific differences that can be linked to food provisioning policies. I finish by applying a synthetic, technology-based approach to management-specific questions. I present a series of case studies from both the genetic and spatial datasets that use a statistical modeling approach to examine how habitat composition, demographics, habituation, as well as seasonal and anthropogenic schedules impact home and core range size and mitochondrial diversity. Finally, these case studies are used to inform specific management recommendations. These approaches emphasize the natural and anthropogenic variables that have the greatest impact on urban primate populations at the human-macaque interface.