Primates 'face extinction crisis' .......BBC News
- A global review of the world's primates says 48% of species face
extinction, an outlook described as "depressing" by conservationists.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species says the main threat is
habitat loss, primarily through the burning and clearing of tropical
forests. Other threats include hunting of primates for food and the
illegal wildlife trade, explained Russell Mittermeier, chairman of
the IUCN Primate Specialist Group and president of Conservation
"In many places, primates are quite literally being eaten to
extinction," he warned. "Tropical forest destruction has always been
the main cause, but now it appears that hunting is just as serious a
threat in some areas, even where the habitat is still quite intact."
The survey, involving hundreds of experts, showed that out of 634
recognised species and subspecies, 11% were Critically Endangered,
22% were Endangered, while a further 15% were listed as Vulnerable.
"It is quite spectacular; we are just wiping out primates," said Jean-
Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN Species Programme. He added
that the data was probably the worst assessment for any group of
species on record.
"The problem with these species is that they have long lives, so it
takes time to reverse the decline. It is quite depressing."
Although habitat loss and deforestation were deemed to be the main
threats globally, Dr Vie explained how human encroachment into
forests was also creating favourable conditions for hunters.
"This creates access, allowing people to go to places that they could
not go in the past," he told BBC News. "Primates are relatively easy
to hunt because they are diurnal, live in groups and are noisy - they
are really easy targets.
In Africa, 11 of the 13 kinds of red colobus monkeys assessed were
listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered. Conservationists fear
that two may already be extinct. The Bouvier's red colobus has not
been seen for 25 years, and no living Miss Waldron red colobus has
been recorded since 1978....
The findings, issued at the International Primatological Society
Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be included in a survey
described as an "unprecedented examination of the state of the
world's mammals", which will be presented at the IUCN World
Conservation Congress in October.
LiveScience.com Tue Aug 5, 7:22 AM ET
A new tally of lowland gorillas has found massive and surprising numbers of these African
primates alive and well in the Republic of Congo, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists
The new census puts the number of western lowland gorillas (called great apes, along with
chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans) within two adjacent areas in the northern part of
the Congo at 125,000 individuals, including infant gorillas. The results were announced
today during a press conference at the International Primatological Society Congress in
Previous estimates from the 1980s placed the entire population of western lowland
gorillas, which live in seven Central African nations, at fewer than 100,000 individuals.
Sine then, scientists thought the number would've at least halved due to hunting and
Western lowland gorillas are one of four recognized gorilla sub-species, along with
mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas and Cross River gorillas. While the eastern
lowland gorilla is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of
Nature (IUCN), the others are labeled "critically endangered," which means the group faces
an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
With partial funding from admission fees to the Bronx Zoo's Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit,
WCS researchers combed rainforests and isolated swamps to count gorilla "nests," which
gorillas construct out of leaves and branches each night for a sleeping area.
The researchers estimate 73,000 came from the Ntokou-Pikounda region and another
52,000 from the Ndoki-Likouala landscape, which includes a previously unknown
population of nearly 6,000 gorillas living in an isolated swamp.
"We knew from our own observations that there were a lot of gorillas out there, but we had
no idea there were so many," said Emma Stokes, who led the survey efforts in Ndoki-
Likouala. "We hope that the results of this survey will allow us to work with the Congolese
government to establish and protect the new Ntokou-Pikounda protected area."
The researchers attribute the high numbers to successful long-term conservation tactics
in the area; the remoteness and inaccessibility of the key gorilla hideouts; and a food-rich
"These figures show that northern Republic of Congo contains the mother lode of gorillas,"
said Steven E. Sanderson, WCS president and CEO. "It also shows that conservation in the
Republic of Congo is working."
For instance, WCS has worked with the Republic of Congo government in the northern area
of the country for nearly 20 years. There, the cooperative effort helped to establish the
Nouabale-Ndoki National Park and manage the Lac Tele Community Reserve, while
working with logging companies outside of protected areas to reduce illegal hunting.
- That is truly amazing, if factual.
In 2002, I experienced a western lowland gorilla encounter in La Lope
Reserve, Gabon. I'll never forget the female gorilla's screams of fear
while she slid down a very tall tree. At the same time, her near-by
mate (unseen through the thick forest) was roaring deeply and loudly
enough to practically shake the jungle floor.
Based on their extremely fearful reactions, I surmised that this couple
had prior experience with humans and, most likely, evidenced the
death/s of members of their family caused by hunters/poachers.
My reaction- gorillas and humans do not mix. Live and let live, s.v.p.