Understanding primate distribution, behaviour and human interactions through focus-group interviews inside and outside protected areas in Guinea-Bissau

Principal researcher: Chloe Chesney

Research group: Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography


Conservation Management | National Parks | West Africa

Funding Institution

British Ecological Society - Small Research Grant


University of Exeter



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Typically, conservation strategies establish areas of intervention, identify threats to wildlife and prioritize activities to eliminate them. Often, strategies fail to incorporate the knowledge/role of local people, jeopardising conservation efforts. With wildlife populations plummeting and continued habitat loss, investigating local ecological knowledge (LEK) and its incorporation into conservation is increasingly vital. Rural communities in West Africa are dependent on subsistence agriculture and manage complex interactions in their coexistence with wildlife. Primates, as a behaviourally flexible taxa, can be particularly challenging as they adapt their spatio-temporal use of their environment to optimise feeding that promotes close human interactions. This is the first project to investigate primate distribution through focus-group interviews over an 18-year period inside and outside formally protected areas (PAs) in Guinea-Bissau.  The work proposed for 2023/4 will allow a comparison with 2006/7 data investigating socio-ecological changes over time that are affecting the presence, distribution, behavior and human-primate interactions of ten species