Where are primates poached?


Primates are regularly hunted for bushmeat in tropical forests, and poaching, along with other human activities that lead to habitat modification, can drastically reduce the probability of persistence of primate populations. Though Tai National Park, Côte d’Ivoire, covers a massive area of 5363 square kilometres, ongoing deforestation of the remaining forest fragments outside the park has left it an isolated forest block surrounded by rapidly increasing human population. In a study conducted by Paul K N’Goran and colleagues, the density and spatial distribution of eight species of monkeys in the park were estimated and the factors affecting them were determined. Though the data were not enough to show if law enforcement directly affects monkey densities or deters poachers, they found that monkey densities decreased with higher human pressure, measured by a composite of proximity to villages and roads, and density of humans and villages. The monitoring data on human activity and poaching also helped effectively guide law enforcement to areas where hunting was concentrated. Remarkably, the density of monkeys was higher closer to the research station and the tourism site as these places are likely to deter hunting activity. The study concludes that if poaching can be deterred by targeted patrolling in the park, it may eventually lead to recovery of monkey populations.

In the larger context, when studied along with other factors like demography, behaviour and physiology, such studies can allow us to identify factors associated with the persistence of primate populations.

Further reading:

N’Goran PK, Boesch C, Mundry R, N’Goran EK, Herbinger I, Yapi FA & HS Kuhl. 2012. Hunting, law enforcement, and African primate conservation. Conservation Biology 26(3):565-71.

This article is from issue


2011 Jun