Terra Daily – January 20, 2017
A report in the journal Science Advances details the grim realities facing a majority of the nonhuman primates in the world – the apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises inhabiting ever-shrinking forests across the planet. The review is the most comprehensive conducted so far, the researchers say, and the picture it paints is dire.
“Alarmingly, about 60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction and about 75 percent have declining populations,” the authors wrote.
“This truly is the eleventh hour for many of these creatures,” said University of Illinois anthropology professor Paul Garber, who co-led the study with Alejandro Estrada of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “Several species of lemurs, monkeys and apes – such as the ring-tailed lemur, Udzunga red colobus monkey, Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, white-headed langur and Grauer’s gorilla – are down to a population of a few thousand individuals. In the case of the Hainan gibbon, a species of ape in China, there are fewer than 30 animals left.”
Another critically endangered ape, the Sumatran orangutan, lost 60 percent of its habitat between 1985 and 2007, Garber said.
“Sadly, in the next 25 years, many of these primate species will disappear unless we make conservation a global priority,” he said. “This, by itself, would be a tragic loss. Now, consider the hundreds of other species facing a similar fate around the world, and you get a sense of what’s truly at stake.”