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Reducing the primate pet trade: Actions for primatologists

Authors:

Abstract

This commentary emerged from a panel presentation at the International Primatological Society Congress in Nairobi, Kenya, 2018. The goal was to provide regional updates on the status of primate removal from habitat countries, especially for the pet trade, and develop guidelines that could help primatologists address this critical problem. The trade in live primates includes those used as pets, in entertainment, and as subjects of biomedical experimentation, but here we focus on those primates destined for the pet trade. Such transactions are a hugely lucrative business, impacting hundreds of thousands of individuals annually and affecting the survival of wild populations. Being intimately familiar with primate social behavior, life history and biology, primatologists, whether they work with captive or wild primates, are in a unique position to understand the nature of the trade and attempt to counter its effects. In addition to updating the status of the primate pet trade, we provide recommendations that may help primatologists formulate a plan to deal, locally and regionally, with illegal trafficking in live primates. General guidelines include increasing awareness of local customs, policies and laws; developing collaborative research opportunities for local people; engaging in training/informational opportunities; and instructing on how to take action when encountering illegally-trafficked primates.
© 2019 The Authors. American Journal of Primatology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Am J Primatol. 2019;e23079. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/ajp
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https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23079
Received: 5 June 2019
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Revised: 1 December 2019
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Accepted: 4 December 2019
DOI: 10.1002/ajp.23079
COMMENTARY
Reducing the primate pet trade: Actions for primatologists
Marilyn A. Norconk
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Sylvia Atsalis
2
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Gregg Tully
3
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Ana Maria Santillán
4,5
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Siân Waters
6,7
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Cheryl D. Knott
8,9
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Stephen R. Ross
10
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Sam Shanee
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Daniel Stiles
12
1
Department of Anthropology, Kent State
University, Kent, Ohio
2
Professional Development for Good, Chicago,
Illinois
3
Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA),
Portland, Oregon
4
Departamento de Etología, Instituto Nacional
de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz,
Mexico City, Mexico
5
Centro Mexicano de Rehabilitación de
Primates A.C., Vera Cruz, Mexico
6
Department of Anthropology, Durham
University, Durham, UK
7
Barbary Macaque Awareness &
Conservation, Morocco
8
Departments of Anthropology and Biology,
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
9
Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation
Program, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
10
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and
Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo,
Chicago, Illinois
11
Neotropical Primate Conservation,
Cornwall, UK
12
SOS Wildlife, Diani Beach, Kenya
Correspondence
Marilyn A. Norconk, Department of
Anthropology, Kent State University,
226 Lowry Hall, Kent, OH 44242.
Email: mnorconk@kent.edu
Abstract
This commentary emerged from a panel presentation at the International
Primatological Society Congress in Nairobi, Kenya, 2018. The goal was to provide
regional updates on the status of primate removal from habitat countries, especially
for the pet trade, and develop guidelines that could help primatologists address this
critical problem. The trade in live primates includes those used as pets, in
entertainment, and as subjects of biomedical experimentation, but here we focus
on those primates destined for the pet trade. Such transactions are a hugely lucrative
business, impacting hundreds of thousands of individuals annually and affecting the
survival of wild populations. Being intimately familiar with primate social behavior,
life history and biology, primatologists, whether they work with captive or wild
primates, are in a unique position to understand the nature of the trade and attempt
to counter its effects. In addition to updating the status of the primate pet trade, we
provide recommendations that may help primatologists formulate a plan to deal,
locally and regionally, with illegal trafficking in live primates. General guidelines
include increasing awareness of local customs, policies and laws; developing
collaborative research opportunities for local people; engaging in training/informa-
tional opportunities; and instructing on how to take action when encountering
illegallytrafficked primates.
KEYWORDS
collaborative research, commercialization of primates, illegal trafficking in live animals, social
media
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INTRODUCTION
The live primate trade consists of animals that are captured and
removed from their native habitat and enter a local, national or
international market for any reason (pets, entertainment, biomedical
and pharmaceutical industries). This commentary focuses on the
primate pet trade. It originated with a panel organized by S. Atsalis,
M. Norconk and G. Tully for the 27th Congress (2018) of the
International Primatological Society in Nairobi, Kenya. Panelists
included concerned primatologists with personal or research
experience on the pet trade. We seek to help primatologists, in
particular those conducting field research, to develop plans to
counteract the illegal trade in wild primates by reviewing relevant
background information, and providing suggestions for how field and
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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.
captive primate researchers can become more involved in reducing
the entry of primates into the pet trade stream.
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BACKGROUND: THE LIVE PRIMATE TRADE
The documented trade in live primates is lucrative and complex involving
the capture and movement of hundreds of thousands of individuals per
year for the biomedical, entertainment industry, and personal pet trade
markets(Nijman,Nekaris,Donati,Bruford,&Fa,2011).Usingdatafrom
the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild
Flora and Fauna (CITES), Nijman et al. (2011) reported that the number
of primates in trade increased steadily from 1995 to 2008. In 2015,
primate trade volume was estimated to be $138M, an increase from
$98M in 2012 (Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), https://atlas.
media.mit.edu). Since 2008, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam have been the
three largest exporters of live primates (https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/
profile/hs07/010611/#Exporters; UN Comtrade Database: https://
comtrade.un.org/). These sites do not provide specific information on
the destination of the primates or their source, although Nijman et al.
(2011) found that the number of captivebred primates exported from
CITES signatories from 1995 to 2009 exceeded the number of wild
caught primates. They also suggested that the total number of wild
caught primates were underreported for some years. Bush, Baker, and
MacDonald (2014) found that all reports of CITESlisted animals
exported in the exotic pet trade were reported as captive bredon
export.
As an example of the lucrative nature of documented (presumed
legal) trade in live primates, exports from China in 2017 were valued
at $48.1M, followed by Vietnam at $12M, and Cambodia at $11.3M.
In the same year, 71% of Chinas exported primates were imported
into the United States and 43% of Vietnams and 55% of Cambodias
exports, respectively, were imported into Japan. The United States
has remained the largest importer of live primates since 2009. The
secondlargest importer during that period shifted from France to
Qatar in 2015 and 2016.
The volume of the undocumented (illegal) trade is estimated to be
even higher than the documented trade, although no realistic estimate of
the actual number of animals exists (Estrada et al., 2018; Reuter &
Schaefer, 2017; Rosen & Smith, 2010; Stiles, Redmond, Cress, Nellemann,
& Formo, 2013). The accuracy gap is due to accountability issues,
inadequate enforcement of existing regulations, inaccurate or incomplete
population assessments, and secrecy. Some countries (e.g., Indonesia
Shepard, 2010; SurinameOuboter, 2001; Vietnam and ChinaBush
et al., 2014; Yiming & Dianmo, 1998) continue to export Appendix 1
species (those considered most endangered by CITES) despite having
indicated acceptance of the import/export terms in CITES. But, poor
enforcement of existing regulations is a ubiquitous problem (Bergin,
Atoussi, & Waters, 2018; Freund, Rahman, & Knott, 2016; Maldonado,
Nijman, & Bearder, 2009; Nijman, 2017; Shanee, 2012, 2017). CITES has
little enforcement capability and must rely on law enforcement agencies
and reporting accuracy in primate range countries (MárquezArias,
SantillánDoherty, & ArenasRosas, 2017; Wyler & Sheikh, 2008). And, it
may be difficult to verify assessments of population growth or decline,
criteria that are routinely used to designate export quotas (Challender,
Harrop, & MacMillan, 2015; Meijaard, Wich, Ancrenaz, & Marshall, 2012;
Plumptre, Sterling, & Buckland, 2013). Finally, efforts to limit the transfer
of primates across international boundaries may be overwhelmed by
demand for some species for pets or for biomedical research such as
Nycticebus spp. (lorises), Saimiri spp. (squirrel monkeys), Cebuella pygmaea
(pygmy marmosets), Aotus spp. (night monkeys) and several species of
lemurs (e.g., Fuller, Eggen, Wirdateti, & Nekaris, 2018; Maldonado, 2018;
Musing, Suzuki, & Nekaris, 2015; Nijman, Spaan, RodeMargono, &
Nekaris, 2017; Simoes & Hidalgo, 2011; Svensson et al., 2016).
Nevertheless, efforts are being made on many levels to reduce the
entry of individuals into the live primate trade stream. These efforts
include education of local people and others who reside in the same
habitats as primates (Freund et al., 2019); community development
projects that provide alternative livelihoods to hunting and wildlife
trafficking (Challender et al., 2015; Horwich et al., 2010); creation of new
protected areas (PAs) in habitats of high biodiversity and strengthening
protection of existing PAs (Le Saout et al., 2013); funding for forest
rangers whose presence and efforts deter poachers; and both stronger
legislation and consistent enforcement of existing legislation (Meijaard
et al., 2012; Phelps, Biggs, & Webb, 2016). Additionally, we recognize
increasing corporate responsiveness to the commercial transportation of
live primates in response to public pressure. For example, several airlines
now refuse to transport primates internationally (Grimm, 2018).
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SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR PET
PRIMATES
Primates can be attractive as pets because they are viewed as cute
and funnyand often behave in familiar ways that are similar to our
own behavior (Estrada et al., 2017; Marshall & Wich, 2016a; Phillips
et al., 2014). Research has demonstrated that their attractiveness is
influenced by how they are portrayed in popular media such as
television, movies and commercial advertisements (Aldrich, 2018;
Ross, Vreeman, & Lonsdorf, 2011). While in some countries pet
primates have been purposefully bred in captive colonies, they may
also enter the pet trade from the wild both intentionally, via wildlife
traffickers (Freund et al., 2016; Nijman, 2017; Phelps et al., 2016;
Shanee, 2012; Stiles, 2016; Stiles et al., 2013; van Uhm, 2016;
Figures 1 and 2) and incidentally, when local hunters kill females with
infants that are then kept as pets or sold (Beck, 2010; Stiles et al.,
2013). Furthermore, there is concern that wildlife crimethe 4th
largest type of international crimemay put animals that inhabit PAs
at risk, particularly great apes (Dudley, Stolton, & Elliott, 2012). As
PAs increasingly serve as safe harborsfor relatively high densities
of animals, they may become hotspots for hunters and traffickers
who often operate with impunity (Nijman, 2017).
There is also concern that the traditional opportunistic capture of
animals for the pet trade (as in this case of orangutan infants) has shifted
to more organized trafficking activities Freund et al. (2016). For example,
in Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia, there are two known ape
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traffickers with holding grounds based in the Jakarta area, and two
others in central and east Java, that acquire primates from local collectors
and sell them on social media or to contacts they have in zoos and safari
parks (D. Stiles, personal communication, November 25, 2019). In Mexico,
organized wildlife crime groups take advantage of the same trafficking
routes used in the drug trade (AlvaradoMartínez, 2012). A similar
problem is gaining traction in Peru (Shanee, 2012) where wildlife
trafficking is compounded by poor enforcement of national laws and
international conventions (Shanee, Mendoza, & Shanee, 2017).
Shanee (2012) noted that local politicians in Peru were influential
in contributing to or reducing the local pet trade. In Amazonas state,
lax interpretation of wildlife laws failed to deter politicians and their
families from assembling their own menageries of exotic animals
while in neighboring San Martin state, stricter interpretation and
application of the same law resulted in the rescue of many animals
from commercial establishments (S. Shanee, in preparation). In both
cases, the decisions made by local leaders affected the incidence of
local wildlife crime.
As a species, barbary macaques have been greatly affected by both
internal and external illegal trade in Morocco. van Uhm (2016) estimated
that ~200 macaques were smuggled into the European Union annually.
Despite the species being reclassified on CITES Appendix I in 2016, trade
does not appear to have diminished and the authorities have failed to
consistently enforce the law against the open sale and use of Barbary
macaques as a photo prop for tourists. Jmaa El Fnaa square in Marrakech
is a magnet for both local and international tourists. Given special
permission by the authorities, solicitors (or touts) exploit macaques as
photo props (Figure 3). The square is also where both national and
international visitors initiate the purchase of wildcaught infant macaques
despite this activity being illegal (Bergin et al., 2018).
On the demand side, many cultures have historically maintained
primates as pets for socialstatus seeking (MárquezArias et al., 2017;
Shanee, 2012) and medicinal and spiritual reasons (e.g., Nekaris,
Shepherd,Starr,&Nijman,2010;Nijman&Nekaris,2014;Reuter
et al., 2018; Waters, Bell, & Setchell, 2018). Moreover, international
demand is driven by greater access to wealth, advertising on the internet
(Bergin et al., 2018) and commercialization in films and videos (Aldrich,
2018; Nekaris, Campbell, Coggins, Rode, & Nijman, 2013). The ease of
financial exchange and speed of air transportation heavily impact the
international trade of some species (e.g., pygmy marmosets, Mongabay
2016, https://news.mongabay.com/2016/02/thedangersofchinasthum
bmonkeytrend/ and slow lorises, Nekaris et al., 2013).
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INTERVENTIONS BY PRIMATOLOGISTS
TO REDUCE THE PET TRADEWHAT CAN
WE DO?
Many primatologists are in a unique position to increase awareness of
and/or reduce the national and international trade in wild primates. Field
primatologists often develop close relationships with local people and are
aware of primate habitat requirements, population demography, and
social behavior. Most field primatologists, however, are not trained to
take action when confronted with primate trafficking. Given this gap in
knowledge and limited formal direction from our professional
FIGURE 1 Spider monkey, Ateles chamek, for sale in Bellavista
market, Pucallpa, Peru. Photo credit: Noga Shanee (Neotropical
Primate Conservation)
FIGURE 2 A juvenile female orangutan chained and kept illegally
as a pet in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: © Gunung Palung
Orangutan Conservation Program with an example of an embedded
caption
FIGURE 3 Barbary macaque used as a photo prop at a market in
Marrakech, Morocco. Photo: © Barbary Macaque Awareness and
Conservation
NORCONK ET AL.
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associations (International Primatological Society policy statement,
Trade in Primates Captured in the Wild), we provide a summary below
of recommendations generated as a result of the panel presentations at
the IPS 2018 Congress in Nairobi, Kenya. General guidelines for longer
term preparation are followed by suggestions for immediate action when
confronted with illegal primate pet trade situations during the course of
travelling or conducting research. All primatologists, whether they do
field research or not, should be aware that their study subjects are at risk
of trafficking.
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General guidelines/Longterm planning
4.1.1 |Increase your knowledge of local customs,
history and laws as they pertain to wildlife trafficking
Among the most useful actions researchers can take is to identify,
and be prepared to contact, specialized local enforcement agencies,
rescue centers and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) working
in areas where wildlife trafficking occurs. Primatologists should make
themselves aware of these resources even before witnessing any
activity so as to be prepared to act quickly when necessary. In many
cases local authorities may be apathetic or reluctant to act because
of a lack of funding or expertise, that is, general reluctance to
confiscate illegally held trafficked animals. In such cases, regular
followup calls may encourage authorities to act or one may need to
contact more than one enforcement entity.
Similarly, highlighting positive actions of local authorities in local
media or online may reinforce their decisions. It is common for local
authorities to feel that cases involving just one animal kept as a pet are
not serious crimes. The incident may be ignored, or, if a confiscation is
made, no punishment may result. Both incountry and international
primatologists should proceed with caution in such cases to avoid being
perceived as interfering and possibly making future collaboration with
local agencies challenging. Contacting NGOs with social media
presence can encourage the authorities to act to avoid public criticism
nationally (Waters, personal observation). Primatologists may also be
able to coordinate capacitybuilding training sessions for local
authorities by working with knowledgeable local groups.
Primatologists should also be aware of emerging changes in the
local social and business environments, particularly the influx of new
commercial enterprises (e.g., oil palm plantations, logging, land
trafficking, ranching, and mining) that could impact habitat loss and
lead to an increase in primate trafficking (e.g., Freund et al., 2016;
Shanee & Shanee, 2016).
4.1.2 |Develop personal relationships with local
people
Developing personal relationships (from local residents, to field
assistants and local leaders) may be the most promising approach to
deterring the illegal pet trade at its source. Primatologists should
strive to create social networks that include community members
and local authorities to promote truthful information about local
primates and other animals targeted for the illegal pet trade and their
importance in shared ecosystems with humans.
Deep, meaningful engagement and trustbuilding between local
people and primatologists in Morocco led to conservationists and
forest users, such as shepherds, sharing information about Barbary
macaques. The conservationists used this opportunity to link the
forest users and their home with the Barbary macaques unique
status as the only North African primate. These strategies made
some men view the animals differently and develop a sense of pride
in the species, protecting it from poachers and other threats (Waters
et al., 2018).
4.1.3 |Increase the scientific capacity of local
people
Increasing scientific capacity through workshops for local people, as
well as structured training for students that intend to become
professionals, are perhaps the most effective ways to affect primate
conservation (Meijaard et al., 2012). In many countries, foreign
researchers are required to support local students. Primatologists
working outside of their home countries should embrace these
opportunities to help train the next generation of incountry
scientists whose voices could have a much greater impact on policies
within their country.
Moreover, community workshops have been shown to lead to
collaborative approaches that reduce hunting and capture of
endangered animals (Horwich et al., 2010; Shanee, 2012; Shanee &
Shanee, 2015). Primatologists who are also educators should
volunteer to give compelling, wellinformed lectures about their
research and local conservation to targeted audiences: residents,
companies, governmental representatives and policy makers, schools
and universities, children and adults. A survey done in Mexico
showed that even in range countries, especially in big cities, residents
are unaware of the importance and even the presence of primates
in the country (MárquezArias, ArenasRosas, & Santillán
Doherty, 2013).
It is also essential for primatologists to help park administrators
recognize the importance of integrating local people into the
protection and maintenance of protected areas. In our experience,
there are many examples where communities have lived next to
parks for many years but have never visited them. Designing
programs that introduce school children to parks are an effective
way to change future attitudes (Freund et al., 2019), but we should
also recognize the importance of longterm investment in repeated
education programs (workshops, trail walks, lectures, and so on) for
maximum effectiveness.
Collectively, we can take advantage of a global increase in nature
tourism by engaging with local NGOs or governmental organizations
to provide instructional materials for hotels, tourist sites, and
national parks. Shanee (2012) found that live primates and other
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wildlife were used as traditional jungle décorin tourist sites in the
Peruvian Amazon (Figure 4). But, tourist hotspots (e.g., hotels,
Figure 5) may also be exemplary locations for primatologists to
educate both local tour operators and tourists themselves by
becoming active participants and providing help with educational
programs and signage.
4.1.4 |Design collaborative research
Meijaard et al. (2012) encouraged the development of collaborative
projects that integrate experts in related fields and provide large
scale systematic information on primate population size, density and
habitat requirements. Collaborative research may facilitate commu-
nity involvement and provide insight into cultural perspectives on the
pet trade (Nekaris et al., 2010; Reuter & Schaefer, 2017; Reuter et al.,
2018; Waters et al., 2018). If the possession of exotic pets is
embedded in traditional cultural attitudes, then understanding the
source of the tradition may be useful in providing explanations to
deter it. It will also be beneficial to think outside the traditional
boundaries of primate research and become familiar with local law,
economics, social and cultural traditions, forestry and other relevant
fields in which people working on similar issues from different
perspectives can provide more comprehensive solutions (Blair, Le, &
Sterling, 2017; Marshall & Wich, 2016b; Meijaard et al., 2012;
Waters & ElHarrad, 2013).
Primatologists should strengthen connections with local
people and provide specific information on conservation planning
and practical implementation of antipoaching efforts in both
regional reports and local publications. We also encourage
primatologists to disseminate information in scientific and
popular journals or newspapers, particularly in local languages,
to publicize the plight of animals captured for the pet trade (e.g.,
Fuller et al., 2018).
4.1.5 |Collaborate with professional organizations
The International Primatological Society webpage (internationalpri-
matologicalsociety.org) lists 24 affiliated regional and countrybased
primate societies. Our focus in this commentary is on what we, as
primatologists, can do to reduce the number of primates entering the
pet trade. The number of wildcaught animals in the pet trade is
difficult to calculate (Bush et al., 2014; Shanee et al., 2017), but it is
increasing by most estimates (e.g., Nijman et al., 2011). Primates tend
to enter the pettrade stream by being taken from wild populations.
Many of the IPS affiliates are grassroots organizations that are
centrally positioned to provide culturaland languagespecific
information to local governance officials, community leaders, wildlife
police, and local people, and also may be able to help document
the local primate pet trade. Organizations originating in nonhabitat
countries (e.g., American Society of Primatologists, Primate Society of
Great Britain, European Federation for Primatology, and the
International Primatological Society) should provide financial and
collegial support for regional organizations, and contribute to
collaborative research and conservation initiatives as part of their
research programs.
FIGURE 4 Tamarin offered for use as a photo prop, Sauce, Peru.
Photo credit: Sam Shanee (Neotropical Primate Conservation)
FIGURE 5 Fifi, a 10yearold western chimpanzee, has spent
almost her entire life in a small cage in the parking lot of a hotel in
GuineaBissau, West Africa. Photo credit: Marie Laforge
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4.1.6 |Set social media guidelines
Social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), as well
as popular films that show primates as pets or wearing human
clothes, have enhanced the attraction and facilitated the acquisition
of wild animals as pets. Nijman and Nekaris (2017) found that the
number of species of owls, both common and rare, increased in local
markets in Indonesia following the release of Harry Potter films. The
demand for otters as pets increased with the number of listings on
social media in Thailand (Siriwat & Nijman, 2018). A survey of social
media posts originating in Africa that contributed to the (illegal)
international trade of gray parrots cited social media as a variable
in the persistent high level of trade (Martin, Senni, & DCruze, 2018).
We also want to emphasize that largescale surveys have demon-
strated that photographs that show even minimal human contact (i.e.,
humans touching nonhuman primates or simply sharing space with
them) may increase the likelihood that primates will be considered to
be suitable pets (Leighty et al., 2015; Ross et al., 2011).
Ironically, images of humans caring for infant primates can have
negative consequences for wild populations (e.g., Musing et al., 2015;
Nekaris et al., 2013; Stiles et al., 2013). Images of care given to primates
in rehabilitation centers may feed the view that baby primates make
cute petsand exacerbate the pet trade problem (Figure 6).
If photos of humans with primates must be shared, then an
appropriate caption explaining the context should be included. Still, the
danger is that the contextual information will not be shared with the
photo. We recommend that the information be embedded in the photo
itself similar to an infographic or informative watermark (see Figure 2).
Such amendments will enable photos to be traced more easily and avoid
sharing them out of context. People and NGOs working closely with
primates should err on the side of caution and exclude photos of people
and primates together from their social media pages and websites.
Given its uniquely broad reach, social media provides tools to
educate and inform, but primates are increasingly being sold on
Facebook and Instagram contrary to their Terms of Service. Unfortu-
nately, these online platforms have refused to cooperate with law
enforcement citing privacy concerns (Stiles, 2019). Still, we can engage in
judicious and intentional use of electronic media that includes accurate
information such as the common name of the species, general photo
location, behavior, and conservation status (Nekaris et al., 2013;
Waters & ElHarrad, 2013) while avoiding specific information regarding
location (e.g., excluding GPS coordinates from smart phone photos).
4.2
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Taking action
We are aware that primates are valuable commodities. Interrupting
sales transactions and movements, or confronting sellers on streets or
in markets may come with personal risks. Therefore, we contributed to
this commentary with the belief that all field primatologists should
become more aware of cultural, economic, commercial, legal, and
educational impacts on the live primate trade in communities where
we live and work, and to encourage primatologists to consider how
they could become a counterforce to the primate pet trade.
4.2.1 |Do not purchase the animal
Buying wildlife from dealers or traffickers, or otherwise providing
them with compensation, will give them resources to acquire more
wild animals, exacerbating the trade. We should understand that
purchasing animals will reinforce the behavior.
4.2.2 |Do not act alone
Contact local people you trust for advice about relevant wildlife
protection authorities. Primatologists who find evidence of wildlife
trafficking are encouraged to communicate relevant information
about the location, species, and context of the sale with local law
enforcement agencies or NGOs involved in wildlife rescue. Most
primate range countries offer an anonymous reporting service
through phone call or internet. If an organization or agency is
positioned to take action, they are likely to have more experience
with safely managing interactions with traffickers and will be
more familiar with the laws of the country. Ideally, the traffickers
will be arrested and/or fined in addition to the animals being
confiscated.
4.2.3 |Do follow up
Calling, writing to or visiting local wildlife authorities increases
opportunities to engage with local enforcement agencies and helps
reinforce your interest in and support of their services.
FIGURE 6 Infant gibbon offered for sale on Instagram in Indonesia
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4.2.4 |Do support good actions
Positive publicity for local wildlife authorities that may have
insufficient resources for monitoring and tracking illegal trade could
make a difference the next time they are called upon to take action.
Such action may include communication via social media sites or
writing editorials in local newspapers or magazines calling attention
to the danger of trafficking to primate well being.
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THERE MAY BE UNINTENDED
CONSEQUENCES
We cannot offer a prescription for success, only guidelines for
intentional action to deter the primate pet trade. It is critical that
primatologists are involved at the ground level; that they are aware,
involved, and support strategies and policies to reduce the illegal
trafficking of nonhuman primates. We believe that our longterm
presence at field sites, appreciation for cultural patterns, and interest
in gathering and exchanging information can provide local incentives
to avoid the illegal capture of wild primates. Our input at this stage is
critical. Post capture, we may have less control. For example, the
Moroccan NGO, Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation
(BMAC), found that confiscating photoprop macaques and fining
their owners did not prevent the touts from reoffending. The fines
were rarely paid and the touts continued their trade without serious
penaltyalthough they did lose their capital assetthe macaque.
Thus, enforcing Moroccan wildlife protection laws by confiscating
Barbary macaques resulted in the negative and unforeseen effect of
increasing the demand for wildcaught infant macaques for the
photoprop trade. BMACs experience demonstrates the difficulties
that conservationists may experience whilst trying to enforce laws in
cultures where the legal infrastructure is procedurally slow.
What is lacking in many cases is support for existingand
establishing newrescue centers. The paucity of safe locations to
place confiscated animals is an unfortunate obstacle when trying to
motivate authorities to act. Knowing that an animal will probably be
euthanized is disheartening to authorities and the public, disincenti-
vizing a willingness to seize pet primates. Most primatologists are not
in a position to set up a rescue center, but they can certainly find
ways to provide muchneeded support for existing ones.
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CONCLUSION
Primatologists have the tools and are in a position to effect change in the
pet trade locally and internationally. We are educators and researchers;
we interact closely with local people; we know the behavior, ecology, and
life history strategies of the primates we study; and we often have long
term investments in the countries in which we work or live. Many of us
have seen primates for sale on street corners and markets or kept as
pets in backyard cages in habitat countries or in pet stores and circuses
in North America. Doing our homework to understand the attitudes of
local people and the cultural underpinnings of how primates enter and
move through the pet trade are critical to developing solutions to deter
it. We encourage all primatologists to generate a personal plan of action
tailored to local circumstances, avoid circulating pictures of themselves
with primates, and engage with local organizations or individuals who
can effectively intervene to deter the primate pet trade.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We are grateful to Karen Bales, AJP Editorinchief, Tony Di Fiore,
Associate Editor of AJP, and three anonymous reviewers for their
helpful suggestions on this commentary. Cheryl Knott thanks
Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Arcus Foundation; Conservation,
Food and Health Foundation; Orangutan Conservancy; Sea World
Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Tides Foundation, and the
Woodland Park Zoo who have funded Gunung Palung Orangutan
Conservation Program's work on combatting the Illegal pet trade.
We would also like to recognize the contributors to the IPS/ASP
2016 panel coorganized by M. Norconk and S. Atsalis, The global
primate pet trade: How can primatologists working in habitat
countries reduce the threat?and thank them for their participation:
A. M. SantillánDoherty, R. ArenasRosas, K. Reuter, M. Schaefer, S.
Waters, A. El Harrad, J. Setchell, A. Nekaris, V. Nijman, D. Spaan, and
D. Stiles.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
We clarify the participation in this piece by noting that S. Atsalis,
C. Knott, M. Norconk, S. Ross, A. M. SantillánDoherty, G. Tully, and
S. Waters attended and participated in the panel at IPSNairobi, 2018.
D. Stiles and S. Shanee agreed to participate, but were unable to attend
the meeting. They contributed data and comments that were included in
the panel and subsequently contributed to writing the commentary.
ETHICS STATEMENT
The authors declare that their research adhered to the joint
International Primatological Society and American Society of
Primatologists Code of Best Practices for Field Primatology, 2014.
ORCID
Marilyn A. Norconk http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7995-8646
Stephen R. Ross http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1819-4136
Sam Shanee http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5573-6208
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Reducing the primate pet trade: Actions for primatologists.
Am J Primatol. 2019;e23079.
https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23079
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... 14 The legal trade in primates was estimated to be worth US$138 million in 2015, representing a nearly 40 per cent increase from its 2012 value of $98 million. 15 Live primates are traded to supply biomedical industries, pharmaceutical testing, the entertainment industry and pet markets. In addition, primate meat is consumed globally, while body parts are used for traditional medicine or sold as trinkets. ...
... China, Cambodia, and Viet Nam have been among the largest legal exporters of live primates in the world, with live primate exports in 2017 from China valued at $48.1 million, followed by Viet Nam at $12 million and Cambodia at $11.3 million. 15 That same year, 71 per cent of China's live primate exports went to the United States, and 43 per cent of Viet Nam's and 55 per cent of Cambodia's exports went to Japan (these exports consist largely of captive-bred long-tailed macaques). 15 Meanwhile, the number of undocumented animals being traded illegally is unknown. ...
... 15 That same year, 71 per cent of China's live primate exports went to the United States, and 43 per cent of Viet Nam's and 55 per cent of Cambodia's exports went to Japan (these exports consist largely of captive-bred long-tailed macaques). 15 Meanwhile, the number of undocumented animals being traded illegally is unknown. Weak law enforcement, inaccurate population assessments and a lack of transparency make it difficult to know the scale of illegal trade. ...
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... These declines are mainly due to anthropogenic threats, including habitat loss or degradation, pathogen transmission, and global and domestic trade for wild meat, entertainment and pets (Nijman et al. 2011;Estrada et al. 2017;Dunay et al. 2018). Trade in wildlife as pets has grown substantially in recent years (Bush et al. 2014;Norconk et al. 2019). Primates tend to be viewed as attractive pets due to their perceived cuteness and entertaining human-like behaviour, especially when still infants (Phillips et al. 2014;Estrada et al. 2017). ...
... Considering these findings, academics, conservationists and wildlife practitioners have called on primatologists to be more aware of the types of imagery they share online, specifically where they are interacting with primates (Norconk et al. 2019). In January 2021, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Primate Specialist Group Section for Human-Primate Interactions (IUCN-PSG-SHPI: https://human-primate-interactions.org/) ...
... Despite an increasing awareness about online primate imagery and its effects on primate conservation (Nijman et al. 2011;Norconk et al. 2019), it was concerning to find that only 44% of the respondents had read any scientific articles regarding this topic. Only 34% of respondents felt that their employers contributed towards their knowledge of current research and conservation news, and 71% felt that the responsibility fell on their employers to ensure they were kept up to date with such material, whilst one respondent suggested that employees need to be responsible for their own knowledge to an extent. ...
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... Over 13,000 species across all major animal classes are thought to be involved [15]. As with any successful market, the lucrative nature of the exotic pet trade has created financial opportunities for introducing new commodities [16], such as the introduction of novel colour and pattern strains in reptiles [17], as well as new species with morphology and behaviour considered as rare, unique, charismatic or otherwise appealing to consumers [2,18,19]. While the growth and diversification of the industry has likely been largely driven by increasing desire for exotic pets [2,20], it is thought to have been further compounded by the greater availability of wild animal species through online markets [4,[21][22][23], along with increasing wealth and the commercialization of wild animals in popular media [4,18,24]. ...
... As with any successful market, the lucrative nature of the exotic pet trade has created financial opportunities for introducing new commodities [16], such as the introduction of novel colour and pattern strains in reptiles [17], as well as new species with morphology and behaviour considered as rare, unique, charismatic or otherwise appealing to consumers [2,18,19]. While the growth and diversification of the industry has likely been largely driven by increasing desire for exotic pets [2,20], it is thought to have been further compounded by the greater availability of wild animal species through online markets [4,[21][22][23], along with increasing wealth and the commercialization of wild animals in popular media [4,18,24]. ...
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Keeping exotic pets has become a popular habit in the UK in recent decades. Yet, information on the current scale of the trade and the diversity of animals involved is lacking. Here, we review the licensed sale of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals as exotic pets in the UK, identifying current geographical hotspots of trader activity, data gaps, and compliance issues related to this trade. In terms of trade volume, records showed large numbers of individual wild animals, across a wide range of species groups, are being legally sold in the UK. Maximum numbers of exotic pets permitted for sale included 54,634 amphibians, 64,810 reptiles, 23,507 birds, and 6,479 mammals. Moreover, nearly 2000 pet traders located in 283 different local authority areas had permission to sell exotic pets. The scope and scale of the trade draws additional attention to the substantial animal welfare challenges associated with it, and our review serves to highlight several shortcomings associated with the licensed exotic pet trade in the UK. Pet shop licences often lacked detailed information about the specific type and number of animals permitted for sale, which raises compliance concerns and hinders efforts to carry out adequate inspection and monitoring. Ninety five pet traders in England had been given a one star rating, indicating ‘minor failings’ in animal welfare, and some local authorities in England were still operating under the old Pet Animals Act (1951). We recommend that resources should be prioritised and focused towards local authorities in England that are not operating under the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations (2018), and that local authorities should improve data reporting on all licenses issued to aid inspection and monitoring.
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... Deforestation degrades and fragments forest, displacing orangutans into forest-agricultural borders. This can lead to negative humanorangutan interactions including crop-raiding and poaching (Campbell-Smith et al., 2011;Campbell-Smith et al., 2012;Norconk et al., 2020;Wich et al., 2008). Recent surveys in villages abutting the Park revealed that 16% of participants had seen orangutans within 500 m of their gardens; 81% of this subgroup reported that orangutans had eaten or damaged their crops. ...
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The Gunung Palung Orangutan Project has conducted research on critically endangered wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) since 1994 in Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. A major goal of our broad-ranging research on orangutan behavior and ecology is to understand how the unique rainforest environment of Southeast Asia, characterized by dramatic changes in fruit productivity due to unpredictable mast fruiting, impacts orangutan behavior, physiology, and health. Much of our research has been devoted to the development of non-invasive techniques and an integrated biology approach – using hormonal assays, fecal processing, nutritional analysis, genetics, and behavioral ecology – and has led to an increased understanding of the ecological and evolutionary pressures shaping orangutan adaptations. Our results show that the extended life history and very slow reproductive rate of orangutans are adaptations to their environment. Orangutans in the Gunung Palung landscape, as elsewhere across Borneo and Sumatra, also face a series of conservation challenges, including extensive habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. We highlight how our investigations of orangutan health status, ecosystem requirements, and the assessment of orangutan density using ground and drone nest surveys have been applied to conservation efforts. We describe our project's direct conservation interventions of public education and awareness campaigns, sustainable livelihood development, establishment of village-run customary forests, investigation of the illegal pet trade, and active engagement with Indonesian government organizations. These efforts, in concert with the development of local scientific and conservation capacity, provide a strong foundation for further conservation as orangutans face a challenging future.
... The international wildlife trade poses one of the greatest threats to species globally (Symes et al., 2018). In several taxa, the extent of illegal trade is estimated to be greater than legal (Sajeva et al., 2013;Norconk et al., 2020;Tittensor et al., 2020), with recommendations for illegal wildlife trade (IWT) to be recognised as a more severe crime within the framework of countries' national legislative systems (UNODC, 2020). Africa is a vital wildlife source continent for IWT (Esmail et al., 2020). ...
... The unsuitability of primates as pets has been noted by primatological societies, veterinary bodies, conservationists, zoo and sanctuary professionals, animal welfare specialists, and medical professionals [12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]. Such practitioners assert that although research pertaining specifically to the welfare of pet primates is scarce but see [22,23], the abundant psychological and physiological research that has been performed on laboratory primates is relevant to the welfare of those kept as pets [12,13,16,18]. ...
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In this article, we attempt to characterize the widespread trade in pet macaques in Vietnam. Data on confiscations as well as surrenders, releases, and individuals housed at rescue centers across Vietnam for 2015–2019 were opportunistically recorded. Data comparisons between Education for Nature Vietnam and three government-run wildlife rescue centers show that at least 1254 cases of macaque keeping occurred during the study period, including a minimum of 32 Assamese macaques (Macaca assamensis), 158 long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), 291 Northern pig-tailed macaques (Macaca leonina), 65 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), and 110 stump-tailed macaques (Macaca arctoides). A minimum of 423 individuals were confiscated, and at least 490 individual macaques were released. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with two key Animals Asia (a non-governmental organization) colleagues and their insights are presented. Although we recognize that the data included are limited and can serve only as a baseline for the scale of the macaque pet trade in Vietnam, we believe that they support our concern that the problem is significant and must be addressed. We stress the need for organizations and authorities to work together to better understand the issue. The keeping of macaques as pets is the cause of serious welfare and conservation issues in Vietnam.
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The pet trade is a major driver of both biodiversity loss and the introduction of invasive alien species. Building a comprehensive understanding of the pet trade would improve prediction of conservation and biosecurity threats, with the aim to prevent further negative impacts. We used South Australia’s native wildlife permit reporting system as a data‐rich example of a vertebrate pet market, spanning 590 distinct taxa across 105 families of terrestrial vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians). Using a piecewise Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach, we tested the influence of 11 a priori variables relating to pets (e.g., species traits), pet owners (e.g., socioeconomic metrics), and regulatory systems (e.g., permit requirements) on the quantities of captive pet keeping, breeding, trading, and escapes into the wild. Birds and reptiles with higher annual fecundity were more likely to be kept in captivity and birds with larger adult mass were more likely to be sold. Species with more stringent permit requirements were possessed and escaped, in lower abundances. Pet keeping was weakly correlated with regions of lower human population densities and higher unemployment rates, yet all socioeconomic variables were ultimately poor at explaining trade dynamics. More escapes occurred in regions that possessed larger quantities of pets, further emphasising the role of propagule pressure in the risk of pet escapes. Synthesis and applications: Species traits are a strong determinant of native pet trade dynamics, yet permit systems also play a key role in de‐incentivising undesirable trade practices. While our research highlighted the positive potential of trade regulatory systems, we recommend that consistent permit category criteria are established to reduce trade in threatened species as well as invasive alien species of high biosecurity risk. Implementation of such systems is broadly needed across a greater diversity of wildlife markets and jurisdictions. Synthesis and applications: Species traits are a strong determinant of native pet trade dynamics, yet permit systems also play a key role in de‐incentivising undesirable trade practices. While our research highlighted the positive potential of trade regulatory systems, we recommend that consistent permit category criteria are established to reduce trade in threatened species as well as invasive alien species of high biosecurity risk. Implementation of such systems is broadly needed across a greater diversity of wildlife markets and jurisdictions.
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The year 2020 was arelentless one that drained many of us of any hope. This review focuses on work in primatology over the long span of that year that may serve as a small remedy to the shadow cast. In 2020, primatology became a focal point of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and holds promise for understanding and preventing similar pandemics in the future. The past few years have also seen an increased concern in US primatology for understanding and working through the legacy of our colonial history, which has intersected with the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 to foment change that is only just beginning to be felt in our discipline. This review, which is by no means comprehensive, discusses these threads of research and their potential for change that might sustain primatology beyond the seemingly endless pandemic year. [COVID-19, pandemic, primatology, decolonizing primatology, decolonizing biological anthropology, biological anthropology, fieldwork, primates].
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The live pet trade is a major driver of both biodiversity loss and the introduction of invasive alien species. Building a comprehensive understanding of the pet trade would improve prediction of conservation and biosecurity threats, with the aim to prevent further negative impacts. We used South Australia’s native wildlife permit reporting system as a data-rich example of a live vertebrate pet market, spanning 590 species across 105 families of terrestrial vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians). Using a piecewise Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach, we tested the influence of 11 a priori variables relating to pets (e.g., species traits), pet owners (e.g., socioeconomic metrics), and regulatory systems (e.g., permit requirements) on the quantities of bird and reptile captive keeping, breeding, trading, and escapes into the wild. Birds and reptiles with higher annual fecundity, as well as widely distributed reptiles with higher adult mass, were more likely to be kept in captivity and sold. Species with more stringent permit requirements were possessed, and escaped, in lower abundances. Pet keeping was weakly correlated with regions of lower population densities and higher unemployment rates, yet other socioeconomic variables were ultimately poor at explaining trade dynamics. More escapes occurred in regions which possessed larger quantities of pets, further emphasising the role of propagule pressure in the risk of pet escapes.Synthesis and applications: Species traits are a strong determinant of pet trade dynamics, yet permit systems also play a key role in de-incentivising undesirable trade practices. While our research highlights the potential of trade regulatory systems, we recommend that consistent permit category criteria are established to reduce trade in threatened species, as well as alien species of high biosecurity risk. Implementation of such systems is broadly needed across a greater diversity of wildlife markets and jurisdictions.
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Little is known about the social behavior of pygmy slow lorises, in particular, the social relationships of same-sex individuals have rarely been investigated. The Slow Loris Conservation Center was built at the Japan Monkey Center to enhance the welfare of confiscated slow lorises, promote their conservation, improve public education, and perform scientific research on the species. In the course of improving housing conditions, several same-sex pairs of pygmy slow lorises were formed. We monitored their behaviors and fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) levels to understand whether male same-sex pairings could be a feasible management strategy. The subjects were 10 male and 6 female lorises for comparison, all of whom were over 5 years old. We successfully formed five pairs of male lorises after eight formation attempts. Male pairs initially showed some aggressive behaviors; however, the rate decreased approximately 10 days after introduction. All of the male pairs eventually exhibited extensive affiliative social behaviors, including allogrooming and social play, during the dark (active) phase, and sleep site sharing during the light (inactive) phase. The rate of sleep site sharing during the light phase was higher than expected, suggesting that the pairs preferred to stay near each other. There was no evidence of increased stress after a long period of male-male social housing. Female same-sex pairs and male-female pairs demonstrated a high level of affiliative behaviors right after the introduction. These results highlight the flexibility and high sociability of this species and indicate that such same-sex pairings are a feasible option for their social management.
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General Public Complaint Against Captive Wildlife),in short Denunciafauna, ran from April 2014 to April 2017 as an experiment to empirically assess the capacity of Peruvian wildlife authorities to address animal trafficking. We used a political ecology activist research framework, where the campaign is part of research examining on-the-ground responses to complaints and opportunities for collaboration with civil society.During the campaign we collected information on 179 cases of wildlife crime involving animals, from which 214 official complaints were made. These cases involved thousands of illegally held and traded individuals. The official complaints included the illegal possession of animals at tourist attractions,in private homes, markets, circuses, street vendors, and as part of initiatives authorized by the State. Forty-four per cent of the complaints did not result in any type of intervention by the wildlife authorities. In a further 26% of cases we, the complainants, have not been informed of the results of the complaint. Thirty per cent of complaints resulted in the confiscation of all or some of the animals involved, but only 7% of all reported cases led to an official investigation by the public prosecutor, and of these, only 3% (7cases) resulted in a court appearance with a sentence given or pending. We describe 'typical' cases which illustrate some of the quantitative results.These quantitative results, cases presented, and participative observation methodologies were used to examine the main limitations of wildlife authorities in Peru. Chronic deficiencies have consistently resulted in the very limited responses of Peruvian wildlife authorities to attend to official complaints and their inability to provide efficient and proportionate responses to wildlife crime, and, in some cases, to even promote or participate in illicit activities. However, pressure and support from civil society can significantly improve authorities' performances.
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Environmental education is a cornerstone of many wildlife conservation programs, and measuring the impact of such education initiatives is imperative for evaluating their effectiveness in achieving conservation goals. For over 15 years, the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program (GPOCP) has been working to protect wild Bornean orangutans Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii living in and around Gunung Palung National Park in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. In 2015, we carried out a series of six Environmental Education Expeditions to communities in the remote districts surrounding the Park, engaging 1519 elementary (n = 770) and junior/senior high school (n = 749) students across 24 schools. Before and after engaging with our environmental education activities students were given surveys to assess their knowledge about and attitudes toward orangutans. We found that our educational activities led to 13.6–40.4% increases in student knowledge about orangutans and substantial shifts toward more positive attitudes about conservation, but that many students do not believe that they personally can make a difference. Empowerment may be a key need to link wildlife education to environmental action.
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Social media has become an increasingly popular platform to trade legal and illegal wildlife. Here, we evaluate the online trade of otters, a group of globally threatened taxa in Thailand, a country of high global social media use. During the 14-month period, we monitored five Facebook groups to establish a primary understanding of the scope and scale of the trade. We recorded 160 sales posts (337 individual otters) of two species, the Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) (81%) and the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) (19%). Newborn otter pups accounted for 53% of the offers, whereas young otters accounted for 35%. Prices averaged US$78, where the smooth-coated otter was offered at a significantly higher price than the Asian small-clawed otter. Juvenile otters were also significantly more expensive than newborns. Trade appears to be domestic; however, the potential for international trade cannot be overlooked. Although otters are protected domestically, we find that the trade is easily accessible and prevalent. The results reflect current inadequacies in enforcement and legislation in keeping pace with the rapidly shifting nature of the Internet in Thailand and throughout the global Internet community. A consistent collaborative effort from consumers, enforcement agencies, and operators is required to address this illicit trade. © 2018 National Science Museum of Korea (NSMK) and Korea National Arboretum (KNA)
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The rise of social media is changing the global trade of wildlife, presenting new challenges and opportunities for regulating and monitoring trade in threatened species. Parrots are among the most threatened groups of birds with wild populations of many species exploited in large numbers to supply the global pet trade. This trade increasingly occurs online yet the role of social media remains poorly understood. We examined trade in wild-sourced Grey parrots between 2014 and 2017, integrating data gathered via social media with other information sources and expert knowledge to gain insight into the scale and scope of trade. We identified 259 posts featuring trade in wild-sourced Grey parrots showing parrots held in transport containers or holding facilities. At least 70% of posts featured trade likely in breach of national laws or CITES regulations and basic welfare conditions were frequently not met. An examination of the locations of traders together with ancillary information enabled us to describe a number of opportunities for interventions to disrupt illegal trade, including major trade routes. Overall levels of trade activity, measured as numbers of posts, showed surprisingly little variation over time with the exception of a spike in activity in the months immediately proceeding new restrictions on international trade in wild-sourced Grey parrots for commercial purposes. Throughout the study period, the majority of exports originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with smaller numbers of posts from traders in Cameroon, Guinea and Ivory Coast. The trade activity of importers was more dynamic with North Africa playing a diminishing role and countries of the Persian Gulf increasing in prominence. The majority of importers were based in western and southern Asia, notably Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan and Iraq most recently. Turkey also played a prominent role as a transit point for air transport between Africa and Asia. There is an urgent need for targeted actions by airlines and enforcement agencies to disrupt illegal trade and by social media companies to improve monitoring and regulation of wildlife trade online.
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Primates occur in 90 countries, but four—Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)—harbor 65% of the world’s primate species (439) and 60% of these primates are Threatened, Endangered, or Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017-3). Considering their importance for global primate conservation, we examine the anthropogenic pressures each country is facing that place their primate populations at risk. Habitat loss and fragmentation are main threats to primates in Brazil, Madagascar, and Indonesia. However, in DRC hunting for the commercial bushmeat trade is the primary threat. Encroachment on primate habitats driven by local and global market demands for food and non-food commodities hunting, illegal trade, the proliferation of invasive species, and human and domestic-animal borne infectious diseases cause habitat loss, population declines, and extirpation. Modeling agricultural expansion in the 21st century for the four countries under a worst-case-scenario, showed a primate range contraction of 78% for Brazil, 72% for Indonesia, 62% for Madagascar, and 32% for DRC. These pressures unfold in the context of expanding human populations with low levels of development. Weak governance across these four countries may limit effective primate conservation planning. We examine landscape and local approaches to effective primate conservation policies and assess the distribution of protected areas and primates in each country. Primates in Brazil and Madagascar have 38% of their range inside protected areas, 17% in Indonesia and 14% in DRC, suggesting that the great majority of primate populations remain vulnerable. We list the key challenges faced by the four countries to avert primate extinctions now and in the future. In the short term, effective law enforcement to stop illegal hunting and illegal forest destruction is absolutely key. Long-term success can only be achieved by focusing local and global public awareness, and actively engaging with international organizations, multinational businesses and consumer nations to reduce unsustainable demands on the environment. Finally, the four primate range countries need to ensure that integrated, sustainable land-use planning for economic development includes the maintenance of biodiversity and intact, functional natural ecosystems. Video abstract: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKHHrbuCZug Graphical abstract: https://peerj.com/articles/4869/
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Strategies for conserving species threatened with extinction are often driven by ecological data. However, in anthropogenic landscapes, understanding and incorporating local people's perceptions may enhance species conservation. We examine the relationships shepherds, living on the periphery of the mixed oak forest of Bouhachem in northern Morocco, have with animals in the context of a conservation project for Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). We analyse ethnographic data to provide insights into shepherds' conceptions of Barbary macaques and the species which bring the shepherds into the forest - goats (Capra hircus), domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), and the African wolf (Canis lupus lupaster). We interpret these data within the framework of boundary theory. Our multispecies ethnographic approach illuminates the different and, in the case of the domestic dog and the Barbary macaque, complex ways shepherds perceive each species. Some shepherds show intrinsic interest in the macaques, revealing potential recruits to conservation activities. As with any ethnographic study, our interpretations of human-animal relations in Bouhachem may not extrapolate to other areas of the Barbary macaque's distribution because of the unique nature of both people and the place. We recommend that conservationists examine complex place-based relations between humans and animals to improve wildlife conservation efforts.
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Primates are kept as pets for various reasons including as indicators of wealth. Ownership of primates can also be influenced by religion. In Madagascar, thousands of lemurs are kept as pets, but the roles of wealth and religion in the ownership of captive lemurs have not been explored. We use quantitative and qualitative data to examine these aspects of ownership. Quantitative data were collected (July to August 2016) in households (n = 596) of 12 urban and rural towns in Madagascar using semi-structured interviews. International standards for research ethics were followed. Research was approved by an ethics oversight committee. We also opportunistically visited 13 religious facilities. Qualitative data were used to frame the context of the quantitative data. We found that pet lemur owners do not speak about their lemurs as a symbol of wealth, but non-owners associate pet lemurs with wealth. Therefore, status/wealth may be a motivating factor in the ownership of pet lemurs. We also found evidence that Catholic entities in Madagascar sometimes take in captive lemurs when the owner can no longer care for the animal (be-ing viewed as animal-friendly institutions). However, we did not find evidence of religion (institutional or traditional) influencing the ownership of pet lemurs.
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This study examined the use of nonhuman primate “actors” (PAs) in promotional trailers for wide-release, English-language CARA-rated films released between 1990 and 2013. A comprehensive list of films featuring PAs was constructed using internet databases and snowball sampling. Changes in the frequency of their use over time were examined. Trailers for each of the films on the list were screened for inclusion of PA footage. Those including PAs were content-analyzed for a list of items including taxa/taxon used; presence or absence of bared-teeth display (BTD, often an expression of fear or submission in nonhuman primates); and presence of clothing, human companion, anthropogenic environment, and/or “human” actions. No statistically significant increase or decrease in the frequency of PA use was detected over the time period examined, although comparison to an earlier study that included pre-1990 films suggests that the use of orangutans (Pongo spp.) has diminished in frequency. The present study found that the most commonly used taxa between 1990 and 2013 were chimpanzees (Pan spp.), capuchins (Cebus and Sapajus spp.), and Cercopithecines (Macaca and Papio spp.). PAs were shown “grinning” (displaying BTDs) for 19% of the time they were onscreen; they were clothed 50% of the time; performing “human” actions 58% of the time; alongside human companions 87% of the time and/or in anthropogenic environments 87% of the time. Apart from concern that the practice compromises the welfare of individual primates, there is some indication that the use of PAs may be indirectly harmful as well; results of several recent studies suggest that their presentation in certain contexts fosters false public understanding about the conservation status of primates and their suitability as human companions or pets. The low but steady frequency with which PAs were used and presented in various anthropocentric contexts suggests that, throughout the time period studied, the film industry remained either uninformed or unconcerned about the potential harmful effects that their choices could have on animal welfare and conservation.
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Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) promotes atrial remodeling that in turn promote AF perpetuation. The aim of our study was to investigate the impact of AF history length on one‐year outcome of AF catheter ablation in a cohort of patients enrolled in the Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Registry. Methods We described the real‐life clinical epidemiology, therapeutic strategies and the short‐ and mid‐term outcomes of 1948 patients (71.9% with paroxysmal AF) undergoing AF ablation procedures, stratified according to AF history duration (< 2 years or ≥ 2 years). Results The mean AF history duration was 46,2±57,4 months, 592 patients had an AF history duration < 2 years (mean 10,2±5,9 months), and 1356 patients ≥ 2 years (mean 75,5±63,5 months) (p < 0.001). Patients with AF history duration < 2 years were younger, had a lower incidence of hypertension, coronary artery disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and had a lower CHA2DS2‐VaSc Score. At one year, the logrank test showed a lower incidence of AF recurrence in patients with AF history duration < 2 years (28.9%) than in patients with AF history duration ≥ 2 years (34.0%) (p = 0.037). AF history duration ≥ 2 years, overall ablation procedure duration, hypertension and chronic kidney disease were all predictors of recurrences after the blanking period. Conclusions In this multicenter registry, performing catheter ablation in patients with an AF history ≥ 2 years was associated with higher rates of AF recurrences at one year. Since cumulative time in AF in not necessarily equivalent to AF history, its role remains to be clarified. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved