Joselyn Mormile, a student on the MSc Primate Conservation course, has been researching human-baboon interaction in South Africa for her dissertation.
Joselyn has worked with baboons in South Africa for two years and decided to venture to Knysna, Western Cape Province, to undertake her research.
As a result of continued land development for human uses, wildlife has been forced to live in closer proximity to people. Many animals are able to adapt to this change while others cannot. Baboons in particular are highly adaptable and intelligent omnivorous primates. This has enabled them to exploit nearly any available resources, including human foods such as crops and rubbish. As a result of this behaviour, they are often labeled as vermin and are highly persecuted throughout their African habitat.
Joselyn states, “I decided to study a non-endangered primate because I believe conservation efforts need to focus on being more proactive. I also believe that conservation efforts should involve cooperation with local residents.”
Joselyn’s ten-week study involved collaborating with many members of the community including residents, business owners, government officials and environmental organizations. Joselyn and her research were featured on the front page of the local newspaper, which has a circulation of over 100,000. Because of this, Joselyn was able to spread the word about baboon research and conservation.