African primatologists unite to save primates

On Thursday 16 February 2017, the Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifique in Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS) officially launched the organization of the inaugural conference of the African Primatological Society (APS). Initieted in 2016 at the 16th Congress of the International Primatological Society, APS intends to launch its activities at its inaugural congress scheduled from 24 to 27 July 2017, in Côte d'Ivoire at the Scientific and Innovation Pole of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University. This official launching ceremony aimed at informing the technical and scientifical partners and the public of this congress and also of the need for the forthcoming birth of the African Primatologcal Society. Several personalities and institutions attended the ceremony : The Embassy of the United States in Côte d'Ivoire, the Ministry of sanitation, Environment and Sustainable Development, the Association for the Development of Intensive Livestock Cultures (ADCVI), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR) and the Ministry of Waters and Forests. In the introduction Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh, Director General of the CSRS, recalled that it took 30 years of independence before the first African primatologists emerged. He continued by declaring the need to transfer the center of gravity of research and conservation of non-human primates in Africa where there is the largest population. Prof. Inza Koné, acting president of APS, and head of CSRS Research and Development Directorate, presented the present audience on the concept of non-human primates (bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas, etc.), Their ecological and economic importance, and the challenges of an African Primatological Society for the protection of primates. "Research shows that in 50 years if nothing is done, the only primate on earth will be only Man," Prof. Inza Koné. Faced with this finding of extremely exacerbated human pressure on primate populations, close to human cousins, the African contribution was strongly expected on the world stage in terms of preservation of primates. Although there are very few primatologists in the African continent, having them work together would greatly improve the impact of the struggle for the preservation of African primates and the entire world. The need for a formal framework for federating actions to protect primates in Africa has been hammered. Following this presentation, several exchanges continued with a commitment from all actors to support the initiative. Possessing the largest number of African primatologists with several leading figures, Côte d'Ivoire was logically chosen as host country. This inaugural congress, co-organized by the CSRS and the UFR Biosciences of the Félix Houphouët Boigny University, will be sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESRS) in its capacity as a supervisory ministry. By closing this launch, Prof. Essetchi Kouamelan, Director of UFR Biosciences of the Félix Houphouët Boigny University, invited the participants and the scientifical and technical partners to a strong commitment to the success of this congress.

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