Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/3440

Appears in Collections:Psychology eTheses
Title: Social Perceptions of Nonhumans in Tombali (Guinea-Bissau, West Africa): a contribution to chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) conservation
Authors: Costa, Susana Gonçalves
Supervisor(s): Lee, Phyllis
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Rainforest biodiversity is particularly vulnerable to loss, since the distribution of forests is limited and the vertebrate species that live within these forests have a limited potential to re-colonize deforested areas, especially when their abundance declines to critical levels. Guinea-Bissau (West Africa) is experiencing significant loss of habitats and species diversity; as such, the establishment of an effective conservation programme is urgent in its remaining forested areas. Despite six legislated protected areas, Guinean forests and their wildlife are not safe in reality. This lack of on-the-ground protection is the case for Cantanhez National Park (Tombali region), where this research took place. The park was established in 2007 to protect remnant forests containing unique and endemic Guinean biodiversity, such as the endangered West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). Local inhabitant’s attitudes towards protected areas and associated externallydriven conservation programmes are seldom examined in depth in relation to understanding the drivers (livelihood, socio-cultural, and local) of perceptions, which makes conservation problematic. Understanding attitudes to animals, habitats and livelihood risks were the focus of this project, specifically in order to assess perceptions of chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are currently suffering catastrophic declines due to human actions across Africa. Thus a focus on understanding, managing and enhancing people’s perceptions and attitudes towards this species could be vital to its long-term survival. The theoretical approach is based upon (i) examining the construct of sociozoologic scales in this specific socio-cultural context, (ii) elucidating issues in humanwildlife interaction (e.g. conflict such as crop-raiding and positive such as ecotourism potential), (iii) local economies (i.e. level of dependency on forest resources), and (iv) understanding people’s expectations about the future of the National Park as a potential constraint or opportunity for their welfare and livelihoods. Quantitative and qualitative methods were combined to approach these questions. 17 The Guinean sociozoologic scale of Cantanhez clearly divides vertebrate species into (i) “tame”, considered good (e.g. gazelles) and (ii) “hazardous”, considered bad (e.g. hyaenas). Chimpanzees lay exactly in the midpoint. They are considered humans’ close relatives; however, they “misbehave” as astute crop thieves sufficiently to be perceived as a competitor for resources. Since chimpanzees are also seen as very similar to humans, their meat consumption is taboo, which adds the potential for protection. Gender and religion both influence the way locals perceive of and relate to chimpanzees. Women and Muslims tend to be more negative towards this species and the protected area than are men and non-Muslims. Women never exhibited positive attitudes in relation to the protected area, while men appeared to be more engaged with “capitalized” principles, with some awareness about the importance chimpanzees might have in catalyzing the National Park and local economy. This study highlights the need for a management plan to mitigate crop-raiding and the development of sustainable strategies that provide livelihood benefits for both men and women, addressing their distinct needs, outside the protected area.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/3440
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences
Psychology

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