The sharing of natural resources between Mende people and non-human primates in the tropical forest of Gola (Sierra Leone)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


At a time that human population is rapidly growing, and the natural habitat is declining at unprecedented rates, it is essential to understand how humans continue to coexist with some of the most threatened species on Earth. Forests not only are the primary habitat for several non-human primates, they also play a central role in people’s lives for example by providing material for construction, fuel, and traditional medicine. Our study aims to identify the primary wild plants used mutually by local people and two endangered primates in Gola Rainforest National Park, Sierra Leone. We conducted semi-structured interviews in fifteen forest edge communities to assess people’s use of wild plants. Our social results conclude that 62% of the interviewees living within 4 km of the protected National Park rely on wild plants for their daily activities. Based on previous primate dietary studies, about 60% of the wild plants listed by people are consumed by western chimpanzees and a lower 18% by red colobus. However, behavioural observations indicate a likely higher degree of co-use in wild plants for shelter and movement of red colobus. This multidisciplinary approach of social sciences coupled with dietary analysis aims to inform conservation management at Gola and contribute to a growing body of research that supports the co-existence between humans and wildlife.
Period9 Oct 201911 Oct 2019
Event titleVII Iberian Primatological Conference: Empaty, Education and Conservation: Primates in a shared World
Event typeConference
LocationLisboa, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionInternational