The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

A preliminary assessment of the primates of Burkina Faso, West Africa


Faculty of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University

Thursday All day, Clinch Concourse Add to calendar

The West African country of Burkina Faso is home to at least seven species of primates, yet very little is known about their distribution, abundance, and potential for sustainability. We conducted a preliminary survey of five different forest reserves in southern Burkina Faso, utilizing 250 km of reconnaissance walks and semi-structured interviews, to assess the relative abundance of and potential threats to the following species: Cercocebus lunulatus, Chlorocebus aethiops, Colobus vellerosus, Erythrocebus patas, Galago senegalensis, Pan troglodytes verus, and Papio anubis. We were able to confirm the presence of G. senegalensis; interviews suggest C. vellerosus and C. lunulatus remain in only small, isolated, and highly threatened groups in the southwest. We found zero signs of chimpanzee presence, and interviews suggest they may not have been present for ten years. C. aethiops, E. patas, and P. anubis were observed at average encounter rates of .06 groups/km, .03 groups/km, and .09 groups/km, respectively. Encounter rates for P. anubis and signs of poaching were significantly negatively correlated. P. anubis and E. patas were considered to be heavy crop-raiders, rivaled only by elephants, and local farmers reported guarding as the most effective mitigation tool, although trapping and killing were also reported. We discuss the need for future research in this region, the potential extirpation of three species from Burkina Faso, and the immediate and long-term threats to the remaining species, as well as outline recommendations for increasing international collaboration to effectively reduce poaching in this region.

This research project was funded by Conservation International's Primate Action Fund, Primate Conservation, Inc., and the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

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