Social Correlates of and Reasons for Primate Meat Consumption in Central Amazonia

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Traditionally, humans have consumed nonhuman primates in many places, including throughout the Amazon region. However, primate consumption rates are changing with rising urbanization and market access. We characterize primate consumption in central Amazonia using 192 qualitative interviews with inhabitants in three rural villages and in the city of Tefé. We used a generalized linear model to investigate how individual consumer characteristics, such as age and gender, and livelihoods affected primate consumption. We also used principal coordinate analysis (PCoA), and word clouds and network text analyses, to describe reasons people gave for eating or avoiding primates. Our results show that men were more likely to say that they eat primates than women, and that the probability that a person said that they eat primates correlated positively with the percentage of their life lived in rural areas. People gave sentiment and ethical reasons not to eat primates. Custom influenced whether people said they eat primates both positively and negatively, while taste positively influenced whether people said they eat primates. A preference for other wild meats in rural areas, and for domestic meats in cities negatively influenced whether people said they eat primates. People also cited the perceptions that primates have a human-like appearance and that primate meat is unhealthy as reasons not to eat primates. People in urban areas also cited conservation attitudes as reasons for not eating primates. Our findings provide an understanding of factors influencing primate consumption in our study area and will be useful for designing tailored conservation initiatives by reducing hunting pressure on primates in rural settings and increasing the effectiveness of outreach campaigns in urban centers.

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