International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 895–917 | Cite as

Preserving Preuss’s Red Colobus (Piliocolobus preussi): an Ethnographic Analysis of Hunting, Conservation, and Changing Perceptions of Primates in Ikenge-Bakoko, Cameroon

  • Alexandra N. HofnerEmail author
  • Carolyn A. Jost Robinson
  • K. A. I. Nekaris


The futures of nonhuman primate species and human communities in shared landscapes rely on our ability to engage with and understand the complex histories and multiscalar aspects of human–animal relationships. We use the Critically Endangered Preuss’s red colobus (Piliocolobus preussi) as a case study to examine the important ways in which histories of multiscalar human–primate interactions play out in the village of Ikenge-Bakoko, Korup National Park, Cameroon. We contextualize ethnographic and catchment data from adult men (N = 32) and women (N = 31) within long-term diurnal primate monitoring datasets to better understand the relationships among hunting practices, local perceptions of diurnal primates, populations of P. preussi, and conservation management. Our data indicate a disconnect between local cultural definitions of “hunter” and Western assumptions as to the makeup and nature of this and other categories. We show that such contradictions can have negative outcomes for conservationists seeking to turn the science of establishing accurate off-take rates of prey species into practical management solutions. Using a single village as a focal point, we highlight the importance of an ethnoprimatological approach to understanding the intricate entanglements among conservation histories, subsistence strategies, and human and nonhuman primate lives. The application of ethnoprimatology is critical for twenty-first century primatologists who must navigate conservation concerns while also acknowledging and valuing the experiences of the human communities living alongside the primates we study.


Bushmeat Ethnography Ethnoprimatology Hunters West Africa 



We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Korup Rainforest Conservation Society (KRCS), our four dedicated field assistants, and all of the residents of Ikenge-Bakoko. Without whom, this project would not have been possible. We also extend thanks to Christos Astaras, Joshua Linder, Kelley Beokee, and The Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (Cameroon) for their support and guidance throughout this project. Further, we thank Erin P. Riley and Sindhu Radhakrishna for organizing this special issue, and Joanna Setchell (editor-in-chief) along with the three anonymous reviewers who substantially improved the manuscript. This work was undertaken with the support of The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (project no.160512457), The Born Free Foundation, the International Primatological Society, and Primate Conservation Inc. Equipment for this project was provided by Idea Wild. Oxford Brookes University Ethics Committee approved this research.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra N. Hofner
    • 1
  • Carolyn A. Jost Robinson
    • 2
  • K. A. I. Nekaris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Centre for Conservation Environment and DevelopmentOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity North CarolinaWilmingtonUSA

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