1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Monitoramento Ambiental, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Rio Tinto, Brazil.
study of local ecological knowledge (LEK) fosters a better
understanding of the relationship between humans and the environment. We
assessed respondents' ecological knowledge of primates in a rural
community located near the Atlantic Forest remnants in the state of
Paraíba, Brazil. Populations of Alouatta
belzebul (red-handed howler monkeys), Sapajus flavius (blonde
capuchins), and Callithrix jacchus (the common marmoset) inhabit the
region. We conducted 200 semi-structured interviews and applied thematic
content analysis, with weighting, to the responses to quantify the LEK.
Respondents showed a low LEK, despite the community's proximity to
forest remnants. However, the LEK was significantly higher among men, as
well as among those who had a greater degree of contact with the
primates. Age did not influence LEK. The studied community apparently
does not intensively exploit the forest resources nor does it
economically depend on primates, which may explain these individuals'
low levels of knowledge about these animals. Such data may support
future studies, as well as environmental education and action plans,
especially for A. belzebul and S. flavius, both of which are endangered
species and targets of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of
the Primates of the Northeast.