Primates inhabiting human‐modified landscapes often exploit matrix habitat to supplement their diet with cultivated foods, at times resulting in economic losses and conflict with local people. Understanding human‐nonhuman primate interactions and the attitudes and perceptions of local people towards crop feeding species are crucial to designing effective species‐based management plans. Over a 12‐month period, we used scan sampling to study the consumption of cultivated foods and matrix use patterns by two habituated groups of Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis ), Ethiopian‐endemic bamboo specialists, in two forest fragments (Kokosa and Afursa) set amidst human settlements and farmland in the southern Ethiopian Highlands. Further, we conducted interviews with local people to document their attitudes and perceptions towards Bale monkeys at the two sites. We found that Bale monkeys at Kokosa, a more degraded habitat by most measures, consumed significantly more cultivated foods than their counterparts at Afursa. Moreover, Bale monkeys at Kokosa spent significantly more time in the matrix than in the forest habitat, while monkeys at Afursa spent significantly less time in the matrix than in the forest habitat. Not surprisingly, local people displayed a more negative attitude towards monkeys inhabiting Kokosa than those inhabiting Afursa. The differences in Bale monkey cultivated food consumption and matrix use patterns—as well as in local people's attitudes and perceptions towards Bale monkeys—between Kokosa and Afursa are probably associated with differences in habitat structure, degree of habitat alteration, and land‐use practices between the sites. We conclude that to ensure long‐term coexistence between Bale monkeys and local people in human‐modified landscapes, it is vital to incorporate nearby matrix habitats into management plans and to work closely with local communities to develop effective nonlethal crop protection strategies, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative interactions between Bale monkeys and humans.
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