International Primatological Society meeting Mexico

9/24/2012Blogspot

It has been a little while since I (Els) was at the International Primatolocial Society meeting (IPS) in Cancun. This conference is one of the rare meetingsthat I attend. I often feel that conferences are a waste of time and money that it is better spent on conservation in the field. Moreover I feel that taking action in the field is better than talking about conservation…

The IPS however is a meeting where all the primatologists around the work come together to present their research, experiences, successes, failures with others. It is also incredibly inspirational to hear about all the amazing work that so many people are doing around the world to save our primates.

Apart from Godelieve Kranendonk, a friend and colleague at AAP who presented her research on the influence on chemical castration in male Barbary macaques, I was the only one who represented our only north African and European primate. I chose to give an inspiring talk. Obviously I did talk about the bad shape that the populations of Barbary macaques are in, but I also wanted to inspire people to not give up, even when all odds are against you. We have been fighting for 8 years to convince the Moroccan authorities to take action and now we have a Conseravation Action Plan (CAP) ready to be executed in full support of the the Moroccan government. We still have a long way to go but this is a perfect starting point and frankly one I never expected to reach!

A well respected primatologist and colleague Prof. John Oates received the IPS lifetime achievement award. John has been fighting for the protection of West African primates for a very long time and in his speech he made a point about things that i fully agree on. The most important one was the fact that so many funds are always allocated towards the same species (apes for example, because they resemble humans so much and they are more “sexy”species for funding organisations). But in the meantime so much less

funds go to the less known or “sexy”species. He is right. We too experience this. Big organisations have literally called Barbary macaques “Non prioirty species” and North Africa a “Non priotiy region”! This is shocking to me, and I thank John for making a point of this.

I did not find any new funders and that is bad news for MPC and especially the Barbary macaque because we are running out of funds very fast right now. Let’s hope the world wakes up before it is too late!

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MPC is an NGO that has successfully worked on the conservation of the endangered Barbary macaque in Morocco since 2003. MPC is the official partner of the Moroccan government for the protection of this unique species. 

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