Black and White Ruffed Lemur in Monkey Land, South Africa

Experts say over Half of the Worlds Primates are at Risk

Black and White Ruffed Lemur in Monkey Land, South Africa
Leigh Goessl's image for:
"Experts say over Half of the Worlds Primates are at Risk"
Caption: Black and White Ruffed Lemur in Monkey Land, South Africa
Image by: Charlesjsharp
© Creative Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_and_white_ruffed_lemur.jpg

Earlier this week the United Nations released a list of the most endangered primates in the world. The report is titled "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2012-1014", the list names 25 primates that are in danger of extinction.

In the Oct. 15 announcement at the Convention on Biological Diversity, the U.N. said there were nine primate species from Asia that were endangered, six from Madagascar, five from South and Central America and five from Africa, reported Live Science.

"Once again, this report shows that the world's primates are under increasing threat from human activities. Whilst we haven't lost any primate species yet during this century, some of them are in very dire straits," Christoph Schwitzer, the head of research at the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation and an editor of the report, said in a statement.

While the list contains the primates most at risk, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said that over half of  the world's 633 primate species are listed as "threatened", experts place this number at 54 percent. The erosion of tropical forests by human action, illegal wildlife trade and the consumption of primates for food are all said to have contributed to placing so many primates in jeopardy.

Schwitzer also noted that lemurs have become one of the world's most endangered mammals.

"In particular the lemurs are now one of the world's most endangered groups of mammals, after more than three years of political crisis and a lack of effective enforcement in their home country, Madagascar," Schwitzer said. "A similar crisis is happening in South-East Asia, where trade in wildlife is bringing many primates very close to extinction."

Wild Life Extra reported that this is attributed to illegal hunting and their natural habitat being destroyed. Experts say since the country's change of power in 2009, these problems have accelerated, and say 91 percent of the 103 lemur species are currently in serious peril of becoming extinct.

CBC News reported the IUCN did say that conservation efforts made by society were having an impact, as several primates have been taken off previous endangered lists.

Russell A. Mittermeier, president of IUCN said, "Amazingly, we continue to discover new species every year since 2000. What is more, primates are increasingly becoming a major ecotourism attraction, and primate-watching is growing in interest."

The endangered list is compiled every other year and is put together by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS). This is done in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) and the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF).

Wild Life Extra has listed by name and region all of the individual primates in danger.

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