Shedding Light on the Trade in Nocturnal Galagos
© Elena Bersacola
The trade in primates is driven by the demand for biomedical research, trophies and pets, bushmeat consumption and traditional medicine. Primates all over the world are used for these purposes, from familiar iconic primates to less recognisable species – and in many cases this trade is illegal and unsustainable.
Though the species traded are primarily diurnal primates, recent studies show that nocturnal species feature more commonly than previously thought – such as the galagos, also known as bushbabies. Shedding light on this trade is the new paper by Monitor and the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group on these nocturnal primates, native to most of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The paper provides much-needed understanding of the usage and trade of galago species throughout Africa, how this varies between regions, and existing protective legislation in their native countries, indicating the threats galagos are facing from their exploitation for human consumption, as pets and in cultural practices and traditions. Further, to gain an understanding of the obstacles to effective law enforcement, the Corruption Perception Index score of the 39 range countries was also examined.
The study confirmed that the use and trade of galagos occurs throughout their range, albeit localised to certain areas.
© Simon Bearder
“Although many of the galagos are not currently thought to be threatened, experience with other nocturnal primates has taught us that the more they are studied, the more their trade and usage is exposed as a serious threat, and we therefore urge for this to be monitored,” said study lead author, Dr. Magdalena S. Svensson.
Galago range countries should adequately protect all species, ensure legal trade is effectively regulated and effectively enforce protective legislation.
“It would be very useful to see further research into the drivers behind the use and trade of galagos, especially in countries that record high levels of use and trade,” said study co-author Dr. Chris R. Shepherd, “as this is crucial in guiding conservation and policy actions, and catalysing enforcement actions.”
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