Abstract # 13421 Poster # 156:

Scheduled for Friday, August 23, 2019 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Alumni Lounge) Poster Presentation


PERCEPTIONS OF PRIMATES AND PROTECTED AREAS: ETHNOPRIMATOLOGICAL INSIGHTS FROM PACOCHE ECUADOR

T. L. Britton
Department of Anthropology, Western University, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada
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     This research uses an ethnoprimatological approach to investigate people’s perceptions of primates and protected areas in the Pacoche Marine and Coastal Wildlife Refuge in Manabí, Ecuador. Twenty-one small-scale subsistence farmers from the community of Pacoche were consulted using a photo pile-sorting exercise and structured open-ended interviews between July and August 2018. In comparison to other mammalian species, results indicate a near eradication of hunting for bushmeat and medicinal purposes as well as exotic pet ownership since the establishment of the protected area in 2008. White-fronted capuchins (Cebus aequatorialis), while reported to be aggressive and damaging to corn and orange plots, were also widely referred to as human-like and intelligent. These findings indicate promise for their conservation status. The mantled howler (Alouatta palliata) also demonstrated similar conservation promise. Results reveal folkloric beliefs of howlers calling to god to bring the rain during times of drought. These traits, alongside their ability to attract tourists to the area, indicate reciprocal relationships that benefit the livelihoods of both human and nonhuman primate species. Interactions with the Ministry of the Environment however, reveal more contentious results. Discrepancies between community members and the Ministry continue over natural resource extraction, particularly in regards to guadua bamboo and firewood. The results indicate a need for improved community engagement in conservation initiatives, in addition to the incorporation of local ecological knowledge in park policy.