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Ethnoprimatology of the Tikuna in the Southern Colombian Amazon

  • Angela M. MaldonadoEmail author
  • Siân Waters
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Part of the Ethnobiology book series (EBL)

Abstract

Primate conservation can be challenging if researchers have little or no understanding of the human–primate interface because of the many anthropogenic impacts affecting primate populations, such as hunting. Hunting primates was an important cultural and social activity for the Tikuna of the Colombian Amazon. In the recent past, tribal laws laid down constraints in the form of hunting taboos enabling the Tikuna people to manage their prey base. However, the loss of cultural restrictions intrinsically associated with their religion and traditional knowledge, including food taboos, has meant that primate populations have become locally depleted and previously taboo species are now hunted and consumed. Tikuna in the southern Colombian Amazon have guarded their resources for centuries but are now active players in the local market economy, where commercial extraction of resources is culturally accepted. For instance, the trapping of live night monkeys for malaria research, a taboo species for traditional Tikuna, is, today, a source of income. Searching for sustainable economic alternatives such as wildlife tourism might replace the income obtained from overexploitation of local natural resources. The main challenge to overcome while implementing community-based conservation interventions is that the income resulting from protecting biodiversity does not ensure an appropriate monetary return for local people. In this chapter, we present an example of how research and primate watching as part of wildlife tourism are improving local people’s perceptions of primates as a result of the income such activities generate. These initiatives provide hope for Neotropical primate conservation in the long term.

Keyword

Amazonia Wildlife tourism Hunting taboos Primate conservation Primate watching 

Resumen

La conservación de primates puede ser un desafío si los investigadores tienen poca o ninguna comprensión de la interface humano-primate debido a los impactos antropogénicos que afectan las poblaciones de primates, como la caza. La caza de primates fue una importante actividad cultural y social para los Tikuna de la Amazonía colombiana. En el pasado reciente, las leyes tribales establecieron restricciones en forma de tabúes que permitían a los Tikuna manejar su cacería. Sin embargo, la pérdida de restricciones culturales intrínsecamente asociadas a su religión y al conocimiento tradicional, incluidos los tabúes alimentarios, ha provocado que las poblaciones de primates hayan disminuido localmente y especies que eran tabú son ahora cazadas y consumidas. Los Tikuna en el sur de la Amazonía colombiana han resguardado sus recursos durante siglos, pero ahora son actores activos en la economía local, donde la extracción comercial de recursos es culturalmente aceptada. Por ejemplo, la captura de monos nocturnos para la investigación en malaria, una especie tabú para los Tikuna tradicionalmente, es hoy una fuente de ingresos. La búsqueda de alternativas económicas sostenibles, como el turismo de naturaleza, podría reemplazar los ingresos obtenidos por la sobreexplotación de los recursos naturales. El principal desafío a superar mientras se implementan intervenciones de conservación con comunidades, es que los ingresos resultantes de la protección de la biodiversidad no garantiza un retorno monetario apropiado para la población local. En este capítulo presentamos un ejemplo de cómo la investigación y la observación de primates como parte del turismo de naturaleza están mejorando la percepción local sobre los primates como resultado de los ingresos que estas actividades generan. Tales iniciativas brindan esperanza para la conservación de los primates neotropicales a largo plazo.

Palabras clave

Amazonia turismo de vida silvestre tabús de caza conservación de primates observación de primates 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We profoundly thank the Mocagua and San Martin Tikuna community members for their hospitality and continuous collaboration. Special thanks to the Panduro and del Aguila families, Leonel Panduro, Humberto and Miguel Gregorio, Azulay and Monica Vasquez, Arturo Naranjo, and Loyda and Maria Angel from San Martin. Thanks to the staff of the Amacayacu National Park for their continuous support. We thank Bernardo Urbani and Manuel Lizarralde for their comments which much improved this chapter. This study was funded by Rufford Small Grants, Rainforest Concern, the Holly Hill Trust, the Whitley Fund for Nature, ORSAS Scholarship (the United Kingdom), Russell E. Train Fellowship (WWF), and International Primate Protection League (IPPL) (the United States). Research permits to conduct this study were granted by the Colombian Park System and previous consultation processes carried out and approved by the Colombian Ministry of Interior.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fundacion EntropikaLeticiaColombia
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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