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Journal Article

The effect of warning signs on the presence of snare traps in a Ugandan rainforest


Crockford,  Catherine       
Department of Human Behavior Ecology and Culture, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Fedurek, P., Akankwasa, J. W., Danel, D. P., Fensome, S., Zuberbühler, K., Muhanguzi, G., et al. (2022). The effect of warning signs on the presence of snare traps in a Ugandan rainforest. Biotropica, 54(3), 721-728. doi:10.1111/btp.13088.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-2AB3-D
Since chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) conservation often involves local human popula-
tions, conservation strategies must consider psychological factors that impact their
behavior. In Budongo Forest, Uganda, for example, local communities commonly en-
gage in snare trap (hereafter: snare) setting for wild meat. This illegal activity posits
a substantial threat to wild chimpanzees, causing permanent wounds or death for
those who are snared. Despite various schemes previously implemented to address
snare setting—an activity that is fueled by poverty, the problem and its detrimental
impact on chimpanzees persists. Here, we experimentally tested a novel interven-
tion, a systematic display of specially designed warning signs aimed at local poachers.
We monitored the presence of snares before and after introducing these signs over
a total period of two years and compared it with that of a similar sized control area
with no intervention. Results show that snares were less likely to be present during
the “sign” period than during the “non-sign” period in the experimental but not in the
control area. We discuss the potential of this cost-effective intervention for limiting
illegal activities that pose a severe threat to chimpanzees and other species inhabiting
tropical forests.