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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The good, the bad and the ugly: perceptions of wildlife in Tombali (Guinea-Bissau, West Africa)
Authors: Costa, Susana
Casanova, Catarina C N
Sousa, Claudia
Lee, Phyllis C
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Keywords: wildlife perceptions
attitudes to animals
Guinean fauna
Issue Date: Mar-2013
Publisher: OMICS Publishing Group
Citation: Costa S, Casanova CCN, Sousa C & Lee PC (2013) The good, the bad and the ugly: perceptions of wildlife in Tombali (Guinea-Bissau, West Africa), Journal of Primatology, 2 (1), Art. No.: 110.
Abstract: Labels attributed to different species - ‘good' or ‘bad' - can provide clues about the underlying attitudes that may determine values applied to nonhumans. Understanding such values can guide community conservation approaches, such as assessing which animals might act as flagship species (biophilic), which are thought to be of use (utilitarian), or which are viewed with hostility (authoritarian). This paper considers how people from Cantanhez National Park (Tombali, Guinea-Bissau) perceive nonhumans in order to assess whether sociozoologic scales can access people's perceptions of biodiversity. We focus on chimpanzees as a potential flagship species for promoting forest conservation. Three hypotheses were considered: (i) A correlation between positive attitudes and edibility was expected for most species, except for chimpanzees that hold attributes other than those of utility; (ii) Chimpanzees were expected to be perceived as ‘similar to humans', which should produce positive perceptions; (iii) Perceptions reflect gender and religious differences. Women who encounter chimpanzees as crop-raiders will dislike and fear chimpanzees more than men while religion was expected to influence the degree of anthropocentrism. A survey of 257 villagers was conducted between February and March 2007. Photos of Guinean animals and one of a non-Guinean control species (N=27) were shown to subjects who were asked to apply adjectives such as ‘good', ‘bad', ‘edible', ‘inedible', ‘pretty', ‘ugly', among others, and then to rank the top three animals that most strongly represented each adjective. Descriptive statistical and principal component analyses were applied to these rankings. With the exception of some religious beliefs that protect chimpanzees from bushmeat exploitation - contributing to their inedibility - people perceived them as ugly and bad. Chimpanzees human resemblance has protected them from hunting pressure, but their tendency to raid the farms makes them vulnerable to the villagers' hostility. Authorities need to consider if chimpanzees are a good flagship, since attitudes towards this species were ambivalent.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: © 2013 Costa S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Notes: Human-animal communication ; Human-animal relationships ; Wildlife conservation ; Chimpanzees
Affiliation: University of Stirling
Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Portugal
University of Lisbon

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