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Association of human disturbance and gastrointestinal parasite infection of yellow baboons in western Tanzania

Piel, A; (2022) Association of human disturbance and gastrointestinal parasite infection of yellow baboons in western Tanzania. PLoS One , 17 (1) , Article e0262481. 10.1371/journal.pone.0262481. Green open access

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Abstract

Human disturbance is an ongoing threat to many wildlife species, manifesting as habitat destruction, resource overuse, or increased disease exposure, among others. With increasing human: non-human primate (NHP) encounters, NHPs are increasingly susceptible to human-introduced diseases, including those with parasitic origins. As such, epidemiology of parasitic disease is becoming an important consideration for NHP conservation strategies. To investigate the relationship between parasite infections and human disturbance we studied yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) living outside of national park boundaries in western Tanzania, collecting 135 fresh faecal samples from nine troops occupying areas with varying levels of human disturbance. We fixed all samples in 10% formalin and later evaluated parasite prevalence and abundance (of isotrichid ciliates and Strongylida). We identified seven protozoan and four helminth taxa. Taxa showed varied relationships with human disturbance, baboon troop size and host age. In four taxa, we found a positive association between prevalence and troop size. We also report a trend towards higher parasite prevalence of two taxa in less disturbed areas. To the contrary, high levels of human disturbance predicted increased abundance of isotrichid ciliates, although no relationship was found between disturbance and Strongylida abundance. Our results provide mixed evidence that human disturbance is associated with NHP parasite infections, highlighting the need to consider monitoring parasite infections when developing NHP conservation strategies.

Type: Article
Title: Association of human disturbance and gastrointestinal parasite infection of yellow baboons in western Tanzania
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262481
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262481
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Mason et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139994
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