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NPC Research in 2023 so far

    NPC Research in 2023 so far

    Over the last few months, NPC has been involved in a number of scientific publications looking at both global primate issues and research into behaviour and problems faced by species in the Neotropical region.

    Two publications are part of a collection from the book ‘Primates in Anthropogenic Landscapes: Exploring Primate Behavioural Flexibility Across Human Contexts’. One paper explores how primates are portrayed in the media and is closely connected with the other paper, which explores the past, present and future of the primate pet trade. Both publications highlight how social media is perpetuating the use of primates as props and entertainment and aiding the pet trade. Despite the negative consequences social media can have, it is not all bad. When used appropriately, it can be an effective tool in tackling primate keeping and raising awareness about the implications of having a pet primate and the cruelty faced by primates used for entertainment.


    A group of international primatologists, including NPC’s Sam Shanee and Luciana Oklander, came together to design the Global Primate Roadkill Database with the mission to create a standardised repository to document incidents of primates killed by vehicles. The database now represents the most comprehensive data repository for information on global primate road kills. As road networks expand across the globe, primates are increasingly at risk of vehicle collisions.


    The publications focused on Neotropical primates include a call to action to assist in efforts to protect owl monkeys, spotlights five organisations who work in Peru, Panama, Colombia and Argentina to conserve owl monkeys. All 11 species of owl monkeys have declining populations or are data deficient with research conducted by NPC leading the IUCN to update the status of the Peruvian Night Monkey from Endangered to Vulnerable. 


    Sam Shanee and colleagues (2023) assess the threat of forest fragmentation and degradation for Peruvian primates in order to aid the design and implementation of mitigation strategies. Habitat loss from anthropogenic activities is a key driver for all species declines with Cebidae (capuchin and squirrel monkeys) and Atelidae (howler, woolly, spider and woolly spider monkeys) the most threatened group. 


    Research from the Reserva Nacional Tambopata in Peru reported the first known cases of large-headed capuchins displaying geophagy (the intentional ingestion of soil and soil-like materials). There is still little known about geophagy in primates and more research is required to understand why this behaviour takes place. 


    Elsewhere in Peru, yellow-tailed woolly monkeys have expanded their range to 206km south of their previously known distribution. This critically endangered species are endemic to the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot and through modelling, Zarate and colleagues (2022) identified potential suitable habitats for this species. The authors highlight that communally and privately-owned protected areas, particularly conservation corridors, can provide much needed protection for species such as the yellow-tailed woolly monkey as currently 75% of their suitable habitat is unprotected. 


    All the conservation-related papers highlight that longer-term initiatives such as community-based reforestation and more field sites are effective but require further financial support. NPC works with local communities to create protected areas, wildlife corridors, community engagement and education programmes. You can support our work here. 


    The papers mentioned here are all listed below and can be accessed on our Publications page.

    • Aldrich, B.C., Feddema, K., Fourage, A., Nekaris, K.A.I. and Shanee, S., 2023. Primate Portrayals: Narratives and Perceptions of Primates in Entertainment. In Primates in Anthropogenic Landscapes: Exploring Primate Behavioural Flexibility Across Human Contexts (pp. 307-326). Cham: Springer International Publishing.


    • Alexander, S.D., Waters, S., Aldrich, B.C., Shanee, S., Clarke, T.A., Radford, L., Hansen, M.F., Gnanaolivu, S.D. and Dempsey, A., 2023. The Past, Present, and Future of the Primate Pet Trade. In Primates in Anthropogenic Landscapes: Exploring Primate Behavioural Flexibility Across Human Contexts (pp. 247-266). Cham: Springer International Publishing.


    • Pottie, S., Bello, R. and Shanee, S., 2023. Geophagy in large-headed capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella macrocephalus) in the Reserva Nacional Tambopata, Peru. Primates64(3), pp.381-387.


    • Praill, L.C., Eppley, T.M., Shanee, S., Cunneyworth, P.M., Abra, F.D., Allgas, N., Al-Razi, H., Campera, M., Cheyne, S.M., Collinson, W. and Donati, G., 2023. Road Infrastructure and Primate Conservation: Introducing the Global Primate Roadkill Database. Animals13(10), p.1692.
    • Shanee, S., Fernández-Hidalgo, L., Allgas, N., Vero, V., Bello-Santa Cruz, R., Bowler, M., Erkenswick Watsa, M., García Mendoza, G., García-Olaechea, A., Hurtado, C. and Vega, Z., 2023. Threat analysis of forest fragmentation and degradation for Peruvian Primates. Diversity15(2), p.276.


    • Wolovich, C.K., Shanee, S., Maldonado, A.M., Méndez‐Carvajal, P.G., Perea‐Rodriguez, J.P., Tabares, S., Garcia de la Chica, A. and Evans, S., 2023. A call‐to‐action to assist in efforts to protect owl monkeys (Aotus spp.). American Journal of Primatology, p.e23501


    • Zarate, M.A., Shanee, S., Charpentier, E., Sarmiento, Y. and Schmitt, C.A., 2023. Expanded distribution and predicted suitable habitat for the critically endangered yellow‐tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) in Perú. American Journal of Primatology85(2), p.e23464.

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