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

Building a code of best practices for field primatology


1Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Saint Louis University, 2Department of Anthropology, San Diego State University

Saturday 8:45-9:00, Ballroom A Add to calendar

The last few years have seen a revitalized discussion concerning the need for a set of ethical guidelines that would be of use to primatologists working in field conditions. Field primatologists must grapple with a wide variety of ethical issues, including the conservation and health of wild populations, and balancing the interests and needs of both human and nonhuman primates at our research sites. However, we currently maneuver through these complex landscapes without a set of relevant and internationally agreed-upon guidelines. In keeping with the aims of this session we highlight some ethical issues inherent in primatological fieldwork, and the need for inter- and intra-disciplinary conversation and action. We will review recent professional symposia/workshops (e.g., at the 2009 American Society of Primatologists, 2012 American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and 2012 International Primatological Society meetings) and publications on these topics, and discuss how to move forward toward the development of a formalized code of best practices. To this end, we will present an outline of a proposed code we recently published as part of a book chapter in an edited volume. We feel strongly that field primatology would benefit greatly from a source of best practices (including online case-study examples), and would be of particular use in the teaching and professionalization of our students. We suggest a list of best practices appropriate for adoption by the American Society of Primatologists, the International Primatological Society, and their respective flagship journals, American Journal of Primatology and International Journal of Primatology.

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