Abstract # 30:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 03:00 PM-03:15 PM: Session 5 (North Main Hall E) Oral Presentation

Educating for Behavior-change at Primate Sanctuaries in Africa

C. Kuhar1, T. Bettinger1, K. Lehnhardt1, B. Cartwright2 and D. Cress2
1Disney's Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA, 2Pan African Sanctuary Alliance
     Over the past decade, the sanctuaries of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance have evolved from simply dealing with immediate animal welfare issues to reintroducing populations of animals into protected areas in the wild. These sanctuaries are becoming active in the conservation arena. As part of a collaborative project, we assessed the impact of sanctuary-based conservation education programs on the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of local people. Using bushmeat as a central theme, eight sanctuaries across Africa developed education programs that would be relevant to their local communities. Pre-Post evaluations were administered to over 8,000 individuals at these locations. Paired t-tests were used to determine the proportion of participants in each group that correctly answered each question [a=0.05]. The results showed that performance was much higher on knowledge-based questions (e.g. Name three types of monkey found in Nigeria) than on behavior-based questions (e.g. Name two behaviors you can perform than can help primates). However, a significant improvement was found for all question categories. These results suggest that while local people have fundamental knowledge about the animals that live near them, a disconnect exists between that knowledge and actions they can take to conserve these species. Primate sanctuaries are uniquely situated to make a large conservation impact by educating local people on actions they can take to help the primates and the environment in which they live.