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5 - Ethnoecology of monkeys among the Barí of Venezuela: perception, use and conservation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 October 2009

Agustín Fuentes
Affiliation:
Central Washington University, Ellensburg
Linda D. Wolfe
Affiliation:
East Carolina University
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Summary

Introduction

In this chapter, I describe the Barí, an indigenous people of Venezuela, their environment, and their perception, knowledge and use of monkeys. Most of the information provided in this chapter comes from extensive fieldwork and personal communications from my father, Roberto Lizarralde, and Dr. Stephen Beckerman, both of whom have participated in extensive anthropological fieldwork and have written extensively about the Barí ecology. In addition to several childhood visits with my father (starting in 1965), I have spent almost 30 months doing fieldwork with the Barí since 1988.

Until the present, the Barí have eaten monkeys, kept them as pets, and used their teeth for decoration. According to Beckerman (1980, p. 94) the monkeys in the area inhabited by the Barí accounted for 22% of the total mass of mammals and birds hunted with bow and arrows in the early 1970s. Over the past 30 years, changes in the environment and human–monkey relationships, and an increase in the Barí's population density, have been coupled with a drastic reduction in the size of the territory of the Barí. Owing to these changes, the Barí have been experiencing a depletion of major fauna, including all populations of monkeys.

The Barí are facing an unsure future as an ethnic group.

Type
Chapter
Information
Primates Face to Face
The Conservation Implications of Human-nonhuman Primate Interconnections
, pp. 85 - 100
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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