“Mankind’s closest living relatives–the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and other primates–are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures,” the conservationists said in a news statement about the release of the report Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008-2010.
The latest assessment that one in two of the world’s primates is threatened with extinction reflects a sharp deterioration since National Geographic News reported in 2002 that one in every three of the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs, and other primates was endangered with extinction. Read the 2002 story Extinction Risk for 1 in 3 Primates, Study Says.
The 2008-2010 report lists five primate species from Madagascar, six from continental Africa, 11 from Asia, and three from Central and South America, “all of which are the most in need of urgent conservation action.”
Compiled by 85 experts from across the world–from the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS), in collaboration with Conservation International (CI)–the report was made public today at an event at Bristol Zoo Gardens in the United Kingdom.
“From the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to the monsoon slopes of Madagascar, from the mountains of southwest China to the islands of Mentawai, these primates are caught between fading hope and hard oblivion,” says the IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group on its Web site. “And if through our failure of action they should cease to exist, we will have lost our nearest companions–and a part of ourselves–from what wilderness remains in the world.”
“Conservationists want to highlight the plight of species such as the golden headed langur (Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus), which is found only on the island of Cat Ba in the Gulf of Tonkin, northeastern Vietnam, where just 60 to 70 individuals remain,” the organizers of the event said in today’s news statement.
The list of the 25 most endangered primates was drawn up by primatologists working in the field who have first-hand knowledge of the causes of threats to primates, according to the report.
One of the editors of the report is Christoph Schwitzer, head of research at the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), a sister organisation of Bristol Zoo Gardens.
Schwitzer, who is also an adviser on Madagascan primates for the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, contributed the chapter on the Endangered Sclater’s lemur (also called the blue-eyed black lemur).
“This report makes for very alarming reading and it underlines the extent of the danger facing many of the world’s primates. We hope it will be effective in drawing attention to the plight of each of the 25 species included. Support and action to help save these species is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful animals forever,” Schwitzer said.
Filed Under: Animal & Plant Life