Behaviour 2019
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Cultural Perceptions and Local Knowledge of Endangered Temminck's Red Colobus Monkeys in The Gambia.  
Jennifer D. Cramer1, Michael Mayhew2, Lisa Fenton2, Mawdo Jallow3. 1American Public University System, Charles Town, WV, United States; 2University of Cumbria, Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom; 3Department of Parks & Wildlife Management, Abuko Nature Reserve, Abuko, Gambia

West Africa is experiencing growing pressures on its natural resources from deforestation, infrastructure development, climate change, and the bushmeat trade.  As a result, endangered primate species like Temminck’s Red Colobus (TRC) in The Gambia are part of a larger effort to census, monitor, and conserve primates in the country.  In 2019, surveys identified the largest and densest known range-wide population of TRC leading to a newly established community protected conservation area in the Sambel Kunda area. We interviewed 41 people in 37 villages throughout the country about presence, abundance, and experiences with TRC.  Participants reported a decrease in TRC abundance and distribution over time, especially in recent years, attributing this population decline to deforestation, habitat loss and indiscriminate primate hunting to prevent crop raiding. TRC were perceived as less destructive to agricultural crops and fruit trees than other monkeys. Our study found that Gambians are aware of the plight of TRC and do not have negative perceptions of the species, suggesting that increased investment in local conservation initiatives for this species is likely to be successful.