While conflict can be very real, coexistence can appear to be conflict when one or more groups of human stakeholders misunderstands or misrepresents a situation. Small but highly visible populations can be assumed to be overabundant; “conflict” itself can be poorly defined.
Changing harmful misperceptions
Long-tailed macaques have been described as “widespread and rapidly declining”. They are one of the most visible monkey species in the world and are often considered to be pests, and overabundant. Yet, their tremendous success at surviving in human-dominated may mean that assumptions about their abundance are mistaken. Indeed, they have very recently been reclassified by the IUCN from “Least Concern” to “Vulnerable.”
Similarly, in Vietnam, where there are five native species of macaque, no detailed survey of the abundance of any of these species in the country has ever been performed. Yet in places where they are in conflict with humans, they are persecuted, shot at, and even rounded up and relocated to areas that may or may not be suitable.
In Hong Kong, the authorities believed that rates of conflict were high. Rates were measured by xxxx but when (name of Paolo’s project) were called in, they asked the authorities to collect further information.
It is important to know your “problem” well before attempting to solve it. At the most basic level, is there actually a problem?
Researchers in Indonesia were called in by the authorities to solve what they perceived as a macaque conflict problem resulting from macaque overpopulation. Preliminary investigations showed that local stakeholders did not feel there was a problem - and that rather than being overabundant in the area, the macaque population was actually in decline.
Issues to consider
Animal Neighbours Project https://animalneighboursproject.org/
The Animal Neighbours project is a community based project that uses research and education to mitigate human wildlife conflict in urban areas.