Attitudes towards urban howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya) in Paraguay

Rebecca Louise Smith* (Corresponding Author), Marco Alesci, Jorge Damian Ayala, Andrea Camperio Ciani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Increasing urbanisation is encroaching into natural habitats and sometimes forcing wildlife into urban centres. Whether or not wildlife can thrive in an urban environment is dependent on many factors, one of which is how the species is perceived by local people. This study focuses on the city of Pilar in south-west Paraguay, which is home to a population of urban-dwelling black and gold howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya). Using semi-structured interviews, we assessed peoples’ attitudes towards the presence of howlers, whether they perceived the monkeys to cause problems in the city, what they believed were the biggest threats to the monkeys, and whether they felt that the presence of monkeys in the city was compatible with their way of life in the long term. Overall, we found that the majority of interviewees had positive attitudes towards the monkeys, believing that they brought benefits to the city and that they should be protected from potential risks in the urban environment. Our results provide the basis for collaborative, community-based development of management strategies for the long-term survival of these urban monkeys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161–171
Number of pages11
Early online date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

A special thanks goes to all the staff, interns and volunteers of Para La Tierra (particularly Karina Atkinson, Joseph Sarvary and Paul Smith), who provided advice about this research.
Marco Alesci would like to communicate his appreciation also to Paulo Fernando for his Spanish translation of the semi-structured interviews. Thank you to Fran O’Leary for making the map of the study site. Thank you to Michelle VanCompernolle and Susan Smith for comments on earlier drafts of the manuscripts. Rebecca L. Smith is grateful to the PRONII program of Conacyt. Fundación Para La Tierra is grateful to
the estate of Don Julio Contreras for their endless support of PLT’s activities. All authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers and to Júlio César Bicca-Marques for their insightful and helpful comments that greatly improved the manuscript. Finally, we express our immense gratitude to the Pilar community for their incredible hospitality and friendliness that made this research possible.

Data Availability Statement

Supplementary Information
The online version contains supplementary material available at


  • Ethno-primatology
  • South America
  • Local perceptions
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Urban primates


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