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article image48% of primates on brink of extinction, warn conservationists

By Stephanie Dearing     Feb 24, 2010 in Environment
The IUCN/Primate Specialist Group warned there are 25 primate species in particular danger throughout the world in a report just published in February.
The study tracked the well-being of primates in a number of different countries. Composed of research from 85 different scientists, the findings are dire - nearly half of the world's primate species are in danger of extinction, warned the IUCN Primate Specialist Group.
"... Destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bushmeat hunting" have been identified as the three key impacts contributing to the decline of the many different primates. Dr. Christoph Schwitzer, who helped edit the report said in a press release “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.”
The IUCN said 48 percent "... of the world’s 634 primate species are classified as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™." Dr. Russell Mittermeier, who chairs the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group said "The results from the most recent IUCN assessment of the world’s mammals indicate that primates are among the most endangered vertebrate groups. The purpose of our Top 25 list is to highlight those that are most at risk, to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately-needed conservation measures. We want governments to commit to these measures when they gather in Japan in October. We have the resources to address this crisis, but so far, we have failed to act.”
The primate species in danger include lemurs, monkeys and apes, and are located in South America, Africa and Asia.
The report was released on February 18. The IUCN recommends action be taken to protect the endangered primates, but has not recommended any particular actions. However, the organization pointed to the South American Black Lion Tamarin and the Golden Lion Tamarin, noting that these two species were once on the verge of extinction but, thanks to intervention, have recovered.
A number of strategies were utilized to save the Black Lion Tamarin and the Golden Lion Tamarin, both which are found in Brazil's rainforests. Not much bigger than a North American squirrel, the little primates were threatened by severe habitat loss. A 30 year effort which included breeding and re-introduction programs have allowed the numbers of the primate to rise from 200 to around 1,000. While no longer threatened with extinction, the status of the primate is still uncertain, as they are still listed as endangered. Some of the Tamarins were relocated to a forest reserve in Brazil.
More about Extinction, Habitat loss, Africa, South america, Indonesia
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