Protection of primates in Africa: CSRS alongside the African Primatological Society

The situation of non-human primates is of great concern. 60% of them are threatened with extinction. In Côte d'Ivoire, the chimpanzee population has dropped by 90% in 20 years. It is in this country that the inaugural Congress of the African Primatological Society (APS) is held from 24 to 27 July 2017 in the presence of more than 150 scientists from Africa and elsewhere. According to Prof. Inza Koné, Director of Research and Development (DRD) at the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS), the general objective of the Congress is to formally form the APS and position it as a platform for Sharing of knowledge and experience among conservation researchers, conservation actors, education professionals, donors and policymakers from the African continent, in order to achieve effective conservation of primates in Africa.

Moving the center of gravity of primatology in Africa Through the APS, Africans intend to "take responsibility for the conservation of primates" and "move the center of gravity of primatology to Africa" Bassirou Bonfoh, Director General of CSRS. Indeed, the world of primatology is largely dominated by scientists from North America or Europe. African primatologists are little known internationally, they do not have access to the same funding and rarely direct research or conservation projects even on their own continent. This situation is paradoxical, especially since Africa has the largest population of primates in the world. "It's time" to create the APS. "There really is a need for an African organization run by Africans," Prof. Russell Mittermeier, a renowned American primatologist, Vice President of the US Organization of the protection of the nature « Conservation International ».

Awareness at the political level
Alain Richard Donwahi, the Ivorian Minister of Water and Forests, who opened the inaugural meeting of the APS, asked the question of primates. "The challenge of primate conservation in Africa is not only environmental but also political and scientific," he said. He also invited the congress participants to "bring innovations to put in place a conservation mechanism to reduce the disappearance of primates" on the continent. The same is true of the Ministry of Health, Environment and Sustainable Development, represented by Prof. Delphin Ochou. The latter encouraged "the organs of the APS to work for the attainment of the objectives of, among others, the conservation of primates".

The CSRS in the forefront
CSRS is at the forefront of the fight for the conservation of endangered species and their habitats; Hence its considerable support in organizing the inaugural Congress of APS. The institution conducts research, awareness and conservation activities in the forests of the Côte d'Ivoire in the north-east of the country and in Tai National Park, one of the last remnants of the primary rainforest in Côte d'Ivory.

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