Hunting in northern French Guiana and its impact on primate communities 1

Benoit de Thoisy a1c1, François Renoux a2 and Catherine Julliot a3
a1 Association Kwata, BP 672, F-97335 Cayenne cedex, French Guiana
a2 ENGREF, BP 316, 97379 Kourou, French Guiana
a3 Silvolab BP 165, 97323 Cayenne, French Guiana

Article author query
de thoisy b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
renoux f   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
julliot c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The Guianas contain one of the largest single remaining tracts of undisturbed tropical rainforest in the world, but this forest and its fauna are facing increased threats. In the north of French Guiana both anthropogenic pressures and conflicts between settlements related to the use of natural resources are growing. Based on surveys in 17 forest sites we show that hunting pressure was the main factor determining current primate species richness, masking the effects of logging or forest type. Three of the larger species, the red howler monkey Alouatta seniculus, black spider monkey Ateles paniscus and tufted capuchin Cebus apella, were less abundant in hunted areas. In the areas around four settlements the harvested biomass of primates was low compared to other game species, but the harvests were close to or beyond the maximal sustainable thresholds for the red howler monkey and tufted capuchin. In French Guiana primates are either fully protected by law (the spider monkey and white-faced saki Pithecia pithecia), or their hunting is restricted to subsistence use (howler monkey, tufted capuchin and wedge-capped capuchin Cebus olivaceus). Most hunted meat is, however, destined for sale. Current conservation policy in French Guiana is limited to legal protection for some species and areas, and laws are poorly enforced. Although large areas of forest and its wildlife are protected simply by their remoteness, there is an increasingly urgent need for the legal protection of all primate species, and the establishment of large protected areas and efficient forest management schemes to minimize the impacts of logging and hunting.

(Received July 9 2003)
(Revised January 19 2004)
(Accepted August 13 2004)

Key Words: Bushmeat; French Guiana; habitats; hunting; neotropical primates; rainforest; sustainable harvest.

c1 Correspondence: Association Kwata, BP 672, F-97335 Cayenne cedex, French Guiana. E-mail thoisy@kwata.org


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