Monkey Forest Tales: How to evaluate threats for primates living close to humans? Some challenges

When working with primates in close proximity to humans, you constantly saw conflict and animals getting kill due to human activities. How to measure those threats when the observations are rare, and data is difficult to get requires that you combine methods and work in close proximity with local people. In today’s post we are going to talk about the challenges of evaluating threats for primates living close to humans.

Probably the first and more challenging part is to detect those threats, unless it is evident that roads are close to forest or that electric cables are close to forest fragments, observations of primate’s deaths by electrocution and car collisions are difficult to quantify. Unless you combine direct observations with surveys in which people report those events. A combination of different data sources is usually the most productive way to understand how primates, and in general other native fauna, are impacted by human activities such as electrocutions and car collisions. 

Working with local people had its own challenges in terms of language use and techniques to make right questions and get comprehensive information about rare events. Additional spatial information obtained from satellite images and land cover map can add important understanding on possible solutions and places where can be more effective to implement mitigation actions such a canopy bridges and other artificial structures that helps safe animal movements in highly transformed landscape. However, we still need to be aware of challenges in information interpretation and learn tools of conflict negotiation to reach agreement with local people on those areas uses.

An additional challenge is how to improve electricity companies’ installation of safe cables as well as how to educate drivers to reduce speed at critical fauna crossing as a complement to infrastructure (canopy bridges or fauna overpass) for fauna crossing on rails and roads. Although there isn’t a unique way to evaluate primate’s threats in human transformed landscapes, an open mind and collaboration with other disciplines can improve our understanding to get better solutions. A lesson we are still learning at Zocay Project…

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