Lwandiso Pamla
Research Title: 
Mitigation of conflict between humans and non-human primates [samango monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis) and baboons (Papio ursinus)] in Hogsback

Lwandiso undertook a BSc degree in Zoology and Biochemistry between 2010 and 2012 at the University of Fort Hare. In 2013 he augmented this qualification with an Honours degree in Zoology under the supervision of Professor Judith Masters and Dr Fabien Génin. His Honours research project, entitled “Mitigation of conflict between humans and non-human primates [samango monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis) and baboons (Papio ursinus)] in Hogsback”, involved interviews with people from various communities in the semi-urban area of Hogsback and one of the ajoining rural areas, Hala. Lwandiso’s investigations revealed that many Hogsback residents subscribed to the view that the wild primates – particularly the baboons – have only recently moved into the Hogsback region, and their population numbers are increasing at an uncontrolled rate. Other evidence suggests that human-wildlife conflict has escalated in recent years because the land and resources available to wild animals has diminished through land transformation and fencing. Some of the human inhabitants of Hogsback view the primates as pests or threats and shoot or poison them. He also discovered that people in rural communities hunt local baboons and samangos for bush-meat as well as their skins which are sold to traditional healers. This evidence suggests that the numbers of wild primates in the Hogsback area are likely to be decreasing, and may ultimately lead to local extinction.

He is currently registered for a Master’s degree in Zoology (2014) under the supervision of Masters and Génin at the University of Fort Hare, and is pursuing a study of the behavioural ecology of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in Hogsback. His research will involve direct field observations to monitor the feeding behaviour of baboons in Hogsback, and to estimate the proportion of foraging time baboons actually allocate to invading agricultural and horticultural land. His hypothesis is, if the baboons have indeed been living in the Hogsback area for an extensive time period, they will have adapted their foraging habits to the natural food sources available to them, and will only invade cultivated land when their natural resources are insufficient or no longer accessible. He hopes that his observations will provide him not only with information on baboon behaviour, but also with insights into mitigating potentially destructive baboon-human interactions, to assist in primate conservation in the Amathole region.

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