Abstract # 8028 Poster # 29:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


WHO OWNS PET LEMURS? CHARACTERISTICS OF PET LEMUR OWNERS IN MADAGASCAR AS IDENTIFIED THROUGH FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEWS

M. S. Schaefer1,2 and K. E. Reuter3
1Salt Lake Community College, 4600 South Redwood Road, AAB 237AC, Salt Lake City, UT 84123, USA, 2University of Utah, 3African Field Division, Conservation International
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     Madagascar is home to the highest number of threatened primate taxa in any one country. Lemurs are threatened by forest loss and hunting; the pet trade has been recognized as an additional threat. Although it is illegal to own lemurs, pet lemur ownership is widespread and affects over 30 species. The goal of this study was to gain an understanding of who owns pet lemurs to better inform conservation programming. Previous studies have reported that lemurs were kept as pets and for money-making or tourism purposes leading us to hypothesize that owners would be Malagasy rather than foreign, primarily adults (males and females equally) and wealthy. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews across Madagascar in July-August 2017. Of 596 households sampled, we interviewed 33 current or former lemur owners. As hypothesized, results found that 97% (n=33) of lemur owners were Malagasy. Contrary to our prediction, 67% of lemurs were owned by children and their families (22/33 interviewed) and, as expected, male (n=16) and female (n=13) heads-of-households were equally represented (binomial p=0.7111, alpha=0.05). No significant difference in wealth of owners was found (54% wealthy (15/28 interviewed), binomial p=0.4253, alpha=0.05). Lemurs are owned for a variety of reasons including as pets (i.e. companionship) and for monkey-making. An understanding of who the owners of pet lemurs are will be helpful in determining which conservation strategies should be implemented.