ESR 13:63-72 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00321

Local knowledge and perceptions of pet primates and wild Margarita capuchins on Isla de Margarita and Isla de Coche in Venezuela

Natalia Ceballos-Mago*, David J. Chivers

Wildlife Research Group, The Anatomy School, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK

ABSTRACT: Several primate species are currently threatened by the pet trade. Primate pet trade not only affects the animal that is kept in captivity, but is also a problem for wild primate populations already threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Local knowledge and perceptions of pet primates and the wild Margarita capuchin Cebus apella margaritae were assessed through a pet survey on a regional scale, on Isla de Margarita and Isla de Coche in the state of Nueva Esparta in the Venezuelan Caribbean Sea. This assessment was conducted to generate recommendations for developing effective management strategies to stop the primate pet trade, for improving the welfare of these primates and for conservation of the Margarita capuchin. A semi-structured interview was used to gather information about species identification, age, husbandry methods, diet, behaviour, health and respondents’ knowledge and perception, for a sample of 50 pet primates. The majority of pets were kept under inadequate conditions, without appropriate space, nutrition and veterinary assistance. Most respondents had no basic information about the existence and characteristics of the wild Margarita capuchin. Effective environmental education programmes in the study area should consider the current motivation of people acquiring primates as pets, in order to stop this practice and to incorporate local people into the conservation of the endemic Margarita capuchin.


KEY WORDS: Margarita capuchin · Pet trade · Cebus apella margaritae · Animal welfare · Isla de Margarita · Isla de Coche


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Cite this article as: Ceballos-Mago N, Chivers DJ (2010) Local knowledge and perceptions of pet primates and wild Margarita capuchins on Isla de Margarita and Isla de Coche in Venezuela. Endang Species Res 13:63-72. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00321

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