More Than Half of the World’s Primates Risk Extinction

Image: Wikimedia Commons

There are 703 species and sub-species of primates around the world, and more than half of them are facing extinction.

International experts released a chilling report last year identifying the apes, lemurs, monkeys, and other primates that are at risk of dying out, and the factors that are causing their numbers to dwindle.

It’s a jungle out there. Or at least it used to be — the most severe impact, says the report, is from agricultural growth and the loss of habitat. From 1990 to 2010, a million and a half square kilometers of primate habitat was lost to agricultural operations, such as palm oil and rubber plantations. To put it into perspective, you could fit three countries the size of France into that area.

Image: Steve Garvie via Wikimedia Commons

Other factors affecting primates are industrial logging and mining, as well as hunting and illegal wildlife trade.

There are 90 countries where primates live, but two out of every three primates make their home in just four of these countries — Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Asia alone, 73% of primate species are in danger of becoming extinct, and in the land of Madagascar, it is a whopping 87% of species.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Many of the 25 most endangered primate species are so rare and their remaining numbers are so small that their population counts are unknown; they include the Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur, Lake Alaotra bamboo lemur, red ruffed lemur, northern sportive lemur, Perrier’s sifaka, Rondo dwarf galago, Roloway monkey, Preuss’ red colobus monkey, Tana River red colobus monkey, Grauer’s gorilla, Phillipine tarsier, Javan slow loris, Pig-tailed langur, Cat Ba langur, Delacour’s langur, Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, Kashmir grey langur, Western purple-faced langur, Hainan gibbon, Sumatran orangutan, Ka’apor capuchin, San Martin titi monkey, Northern brown howler monkey, Colombian brown spider monkey, and the Ecuadorian brown-headed spider monkey.

Image: Eric Kilby via Flickr