Wild animals are exploited for entertainment and photo opportunities increasingly. A fresh study highlights that tourists in Morocco object to the usage of barbary macaques as photo props, raising concerns concerning the animal’s welfare and risk to human health. Today at the British Ecological Society annual conference in Birmingham the findings are presented.
Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus, L.), the only real primate species endemic to Algeria and Morocco, have already been categorised as ‘endangered to extinction’ on the IUCN Red Set of Threatened Species since 2008. It really is prohibited to market or keep them as pets.
Despite the restrictions, barbary macaques are employed as photo props for tourists, principally in Marrakech’s famous Jemaa el-Fna square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and reportedly in other major Moroccan cities and Algeria. A child macaque might become an image prop 18 times each hour costing visitors around 100 Dirhams (~£20). This practice could earn their handlers the same as the average monthly Moroccan household income in only 3-4 business days.
Researchers from Edinburgh Napier University surveyed 513 national and international visitors to Jemaa el-Fna square during an Easter holiday period when tourism was at a peak, utilizing a 25-item questionnaire to judge their perception of primate photo props.
88% of the respondents neither designed to utilize the photo props nor did. A lot more than 200 people found it unacceptable due to animal or ethical welfare reasons.
Jay Mackinnon, a lecturer in systems at Edinburgh Napier University, commented: “Almost all of the survey respondents didn’t start to see the macaques being an attraction and found the photo props off-putting. They pitied the animals and raised concerns about hygiene and the chance of serious infections being transmitted.”
Interestingly, while 66% agreed the practice ought to be illegal, 80% were unaware it really is already illegal in the united kingdom.
“Barbary macaque numbers have plummeted by a lot more than 50% because the 1980s because of habitat loss and juveniles for sale illegally as pets. Only 1 in four survey participants was aware that species is endangered”, said Kristina Stazaker who led the study within her master’s project at the university.
“Seeing primates as pets or photo props, whether that’s in the media or at tourism destinations, can cause the assumption there are many of them in fact it is suitable to help keep them as pets”, she added.
Visitors who did have their photos taken with a macaque, or planned to take action, valued the rare possibility to interact with the pet, although 1 / 2 of them said they didn’t benefit from the experience as traders had pressured them or mistreated the macaques.
Mackinnon concluded: “Jemaa el-Fna square is really a stunning place with street performers, souvenir and food stalls, attracting tourists from all around the global world. We realize that the perception of poor animal welfare can donate to a negative experience or image of the destination visited. It will be a shame if tourists were removing some memories of Morocco which are negative for this reason unethical practice.”
Barbary macaques is seen in the open at Ifrane National Park and the waterfalls of Ouzoud. The scholarly study highlights that, if managed appropriately, ecotourism enterprises could give a better experience for tourists who value animal encounters at these sites.
On Tuesday 18 December 2018 at the British Ecological Society annual meeting, the team will show their findings, that may bring 1 together, 200 ecologists from a lot more than 40 countries to go over the most recent research.