Fantasy Proposal: Wildlife-TRAPS Project for PrimatesLaura EmmersonANTH 410 Spring 2013Scope and Significance:Non-human primates are facing devastation as more and more as humans are expandinginto their habitats. Slow lorises, for example are exposed to dangers in the primate trade, theirnumbers are lessoning at extreme rates. The Little Fire Face Project, which uses researchers tolearn about the ecology of the nocturnal primates and uses educators to inform the inhabitantsand law enforcement how to better conserve the species and treat them better. I propose that theWorld Life Wildlife Fund (WWF) keep working with organizations like IUCN, but collaboratemore with the smaller projects like the Little Fire Face Project so that more can be done on alocalized level. The programs created would have different branches to fulfill all of thecollaborative needs. Because the WWF organization is directly involved with IUCN on theWildlife-Traps program, the projectwould expand to primates. Because local research andcommunication is at the root of understanding the fundamental needs of every community, a planwould be created to ensure that thelocal level is heard and accounted for. If WWF worked withenough of the smaller, more specialized programs, they could provide a way to fund for theconservation of less known species that lackthe same attention as the tigers, elephants, andpandas.Primate conservation is significant in our increasingly globalized contemporary world,because it can be a way to remain educated, involved with people, animals, and other life forms.Primate studies can contribute to the knowledge that humans have of themselves, in that peopleare related to non-human primates, by the land that they live on, and the natural resources thatthey use. If non-human primate populations continue to be decimated, biodiversity and the
potential for future academic understanding would be lost. A project that would link all of theprimate conservation efforts together would attract a lot of attention towards WWF, seeing ashow other primates are so related to humans.BackgroundAn issue that is prevalent in Asia and Africa is the trade of lorises and other primates forvarious reasons including ornamental, medicinal, pet ownership, and consumptive (Nekaris et al2010), which is a large obstaclefor conservation. Continued trade threatens these primates, infact, there are currently 127 primate species out of the 420 listed are in the “endangered” or“critically endangered” category of theInternational Union for Conservation of NatureRedList(IUCN 2012).Some of the main forces causing these endangerments are human expansioninto primate habitat, wars happening within countries that house the primates, and the bush meattrade.There have beensuccessful outcomes with projects in which law enforcement in thesecountries play their role, but this is not always the case.An organization that is influential in facilitating discussion and momentous action in lightof the issues stated above is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). They have been around since1961, eventually developing the following mission statement:The mission of World Wildlife Fund is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressingthreats to the diversity of life on Earth. Our vision is to build a future in which people livein harmony with nature.The current project which expresses these ideals is the Wildlife Trafficking, Response,Assessment, Priority Setting (Wildlife-TRAPS) initiative, a grant provided by USAID as “aninternational, multi-stakeholder effort led by IUCN and TRAFFIC to inform, facilitate andsupport efforts to reduce transregional wildlife trafficking,” (WWF 2013). Currently Wildlife-
TRAPs is looking for new management for the program, looking tomitigate rhinoceros andelephant poaching in Africa, which then is traded mostly in Asia for the horn and ivoryindustry.There have been issues in the past of the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws, butthrough the work of multiple parties, proper conservation practices can be found, which can alsowork to benefit the people that use the land. The current project for elephants and rhinocerosescan be used as a model for what WWF can do with a primate emphasis in their organization,essentially a Wildlife-TRAPS for primates would be created.Methods:It must be recognized that there are only so many ideas that can be placed to action,soseparating the categories from broad to more specific can be seen in the chart below.Timeline:Steps to Take DescriptionFirst, call into action theoverarching problem athandRecognize the increasing endangerment to hundreds ofprimate speciesCreate goals in the spirit ofconservation and humanwellness throughcooperationEnsure that the conservation of all primate species will takeplace in cooperation with, not instead of, the livelihood ofthe humans who use them.Objectives to reach thegoals-Use a coalition of partners, including ethnoprimatologists,to discover the roots of the primate trade in a few coreregions.-Work with numerous smaller organizations, especiallythose run by local people-Involve the primate conservation organizations with localpeople’s needs and law enforcement in order to createcomprehensive conservation plans.-With the collaboration, provide incentives to notparticipate in the primate trade.-Examples: Education that leads the local governmentsto enforce the mitigation of the primate trade-And the local people to take conservation matters intotheir own hands
This job is a four-year commitment with the first phaselasting the first two years.“PhaseI” will focus on creating ties among stakeholders and establishing groups of research teamsfocused in ethnoprimatology to discover the root of the primate trade. Moderate-size teams ofresearchers will be sent to work at various locations of interest and work with organizationsfocused in specific primates and conservation efforts. This team will be managed in part by theWildlife-TRAPS Project Leader. Meetings will be held with representatives of the stakeholders(government groups, local people, and law enforcement, ethnoprimatologists) will take placethroughout all four years. The second phase will be the last two years. “Phase II” will useeducation and collaboration among law enforcement and local peoples to promote an internalshift towards the conservation of primates.Possible harms that could come from the programs: Something that WWF does notmention in their plans for conservation is how the local people will be affected by these policies.Because of the strong influence that WWF has on the rest on conservation policy, people’s livescould be vastly hindered if research and policy implementation is not done properly. Thoseliving in communities that depend on the usage of the non-human for their livelihoods(i.e.hunting for bush meat as a primary food source) might not have access to other subsistencemeans.This could be avoided by providing incentives to local peoples to not participate in thetrade, possibly by establishing sustainable agriculture that would be run and lead by thecommunity members themselves. It is important in conservation to not rely on law enforcementto be the only answer. Humans are hunting and trading these animals for a reason, so thesereasons must be kept in mind.
Works Cited:The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.N.p., 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2013.<http://www.iucnredlist.org/search>.Nekaris, K. A. I., Shepherd, C. R., Starr, C. R., &Nijman, V. (2010). Exploring cultural drivers forwildlife trade via an ethnoprimatological approach: a case study of slender and slow lorises (Loris andNycticebus) in South and Southeast Asia. American Journal of Primatology, 72(10), 877-886."TRAFFIC - Wildlife Trade News - Slow Lorises the Focus of Wildlife Trafficking meeting." TRAFFIC.N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2013. <http://www.traffic.org/home/2013/1/25/slow-lorises-the-focus-of-wildlife-trafficking-meeting.html>."WWF - TRAFFIC, Wildlife-TRAPS Project Leader." WWF. N.p., 9 Apr. 2013. Web.<http://wwf.panda.org/who_we_are/jobs/?208202/Wildlife-TRAPS-Project-Leader>.