Nearly half of the world’s non-human primates are in danger of dying out. In fact, in some parts of the world, the threat to primates has reached a critical point, and steps need to be taken immediately to ensure they stay alive.
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Why do primates need to be saved?
The IUCN’s Red List says that nine out of ten species of primates in Cambodia and Vietnam are either Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered.
Primates are in danger not because they die of natural causes but because of what people do. People destroy their homes, kill them for sport, and keep them as pets. As people grow, more of the natural environment is used for farming and business.
When humans cut down trees and clear land for farming, primates lose their natural habitats. This causes a conflict that humans have yet to win.
Southeast Asia has a lot of habitat loss because forests are often cut down to make room for palm oil plantations. Primate meat is eaten in other parts of the world. People hunt them to get bushmeat. As primates lose more and more of their homes, they have nowhere to hide and are easier to catch.
Thousands of primates are taken from their natural habitats and sold yearly as exotic pets. Most of the animals that are hunted die when they are caught or while they are being moved.
Those who get back to their owners live a lonely life in captivity. They often have the wrong places to live and die quickly.
Efforts to Get Better
Even though the number of primates is decreasing, scientists keep finding new species. Most discoveries are made in places where humans have less of an effect. Since the year 2000, 53 new species have been found.
Forty of the discoveries were made in the most remote parts of Madagascar. The greater bamboo lemur used to be thought to be on the verge of extinction because only about 100 of them were known to live in the wild.
However, since 2007, when they were found in the forests of Madagascar, their status has changed from critically endangered to endangered.
Researchers also breed primates in captivity and help them get ready to go back into the wild. The success stories of Brazil are the gold lion tamarin and the black lion tamarin.
The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates
|Bioko red colobus
|Piliocolobus pennantii pennantii
|Blue-eyed black lemur
|Brown spider monkey
|Brown-headed spider monkey
|Ateles fusciceps fusciceps
|Eastern black crested gibbon
|Eastern lowland gorilla
|Gorilla beringei graueri
|Democratic Republic of the Congo
|Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus
|Javan slow loris
|Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur
|Northern brown howler
|Alouatta guariba guariba
|Northern sportive lemur
|Red ruffed lemur
|Rio Mayo titi
|Rondo dwarf galago
|Tana River red colobus
|Tonkin snub-nosed monkey
|Western purple-faced langur
|Trachypithecus vetulus nestor