Education Grant
Masters in Primate Conservation – Year 2 Update

Masters report from Charlotte

As I prepared to start the final semester of my masters, I’ve been reflecting on the valuable content I’ve learnt so far and how much I’ve achieved! I finished my first year with three distinctions for my first three modules: Primate diversity and conservation, Research methods, and Captive management and rehabilitation.

I had just two modules to complete for my most recent semester, the first was People-primate interactions, which looked into ways in which humans co-exist with primates in the wild and the positive and negative consequences of this existence.  I was also tasked with creating a briefing document for a hypothetical town council, who had received complaints from their residents about a local group of vervet monkeys causing damage to property and businesses. It was interesting having to balance the needs of the local people in the town as well as the welfare and conservation of the local primates. It gave me a valuable insight into the challenges faced by conservationists in primate range countries!

For my second module I studied international legislation and wildlife trade. We were taught about legislations such as CITES, and were taught about how the IUCN Red List is assessed. The first assignment tasked us with choosing a species that had not been assessed by IUCN in the last year or two and use published research to reassess their conservation status. I chose the De Brazza’s monkey, a primate found across central Africa, and through my assignment I have suggested that IUCN change their current status of the De Brazza’s monkey from Least Concern to Vulnerable. For our second assignment we had to use the CITES trade database to look at trends in legal trade of a chosen species or group of species. I looked at the legal live trade of great apes between 2009-2019, and was shocked by some of my findings. Across the globe, great apes are still being legally transported between countries for the purposes of traveling circuses and as personal property. I identified Guinea as a key exporter of live chimpanzees to China, despite there being no captive breeding facilities in Guinea, where they were claimed to be heading to zoological facilities.

So with 5 modules completed, I am currently at 4 distinctions and 1 merit meaning I am on course to achieve a distinction in the masters if I continue working to this standard! This upcoming semester I have just one module, independent supervised study, where I’ll be required to produce a scientific study aimed to be published in a scientific journal of my choice. I am also required to begin planning my final thesis project, it is now all systems go from here on!