Trade and ethnozoological use of African lorisiforms in the last 20 years
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Nocturnal Primate Research Group and Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group, Oxford Brookes University
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton
Publication date: 2015-12-29
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2015;26(2):153-161

Trade in primates is considered a major impediment to primate conservation globally. The bushmeat trade in West and Central Africa is considered largely unsustainable and represents one of the main threats to biodiversity. Furthermore, the use of primates in traditional practices and medicine includes a third of the African primate species. Little is known about the trade in the African mainland lorisiforms; pottos, angwantibos and galagos. Aiming to fill this knowledge gap we created an online survey, conducted a literature review, and analyzed CITES trade records, focusing on the last two decades. We obtained 188 questionnaire responses from researchers and people working in 31 different countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We found a total of 33 publications reporting on trade in African lorisiforms, and CITES records indicate that almost 2000 lorisiforms were traded internationally from African range countries. Fifty-three percent of respondents provided meaningful details about aspects of the trade in African lorisiforms from 50% of the range countries. Galagos were reported by respondents in larger numbers than pottos and angwantibos, and mainly occurred in the pet trade. Pottos were the most frequently mentioned taxon in the literature, when all trade types were combined. Across all of the sources (online survey, literature and CITES database), trade in pottos and angwantibos was reported from 12 countries, and galagos from 23 countries. Trade was reported to occur mainly within rural settings (64%), potentially indicating that demand is not high enough to fuel long distance trading. However, as seen in the Asian lorisiforms, once quantitative studies were conducted, the threat that trade posed became alarmingly apparent and is now considered a major impediment to their conservation. Our insight into the trade of African lorisiforms should be followed up with concerted studies, with an emphasis on quantifying trade to  the species level.

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