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Third Of Primates 'Risk Extinction'

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 799 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... THIRD OF PRIMATES RISK EXTINCTION By Alex Kirby BBC
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2002
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      THIRD OF PRIMATES 'RISK EXTINCTION'
      By Alex Kirby
      BBC
      Monday, 7 October, 2002

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2306517.stm

      One-third of the world's primate species now face a serious risk of
      extinction, according to a report by an international group of
      conservationists.

      They say the number of threatened species has risen sharply in the last
      three years.

      Primates living in two south-east Asian countries are said to be especially
      endangered. But several species are judged a little safer than they used to
      be.

      The report is entitled Primates In Peril: The World's Top 25 Most Endangered
      Primates. It is published by Conservation International (CI) and the primate
      specialist group of IUCN, the World Conservation Union.

      Vietnamese crisis

      The authors say the numbers of primate species and sub-species classified as
      either endangered or critically endangered have risen nearly 63%, from 120
      to 1995, since the publication of an earlier report at the beginning of
      2000.

      Primates include apes, monkeys, lemurs and some lesser-known species.

      Scientists say they are our closest living relatives. Nearly 45% of the
      world's most endangered primates live in Asia.

      The president of CI, Russ Mittermeier, said: "Of particular concern is the
      situation in Vietnam and China. With several primates now numbering only in
      the dozens or low hundreds of individuals, Vietnam is at risk of undergoing
      a major primate extinction spasm within the next few years if rapid action
      is not taken.

      "Twenty per cent of the top 25 primates are located in Vietnam, with another
      16% from China and 12% from Indonesia."

      He told BBC News Online: "Human pressures are more intense in these places;
      hunting in particular, both for meat and medicinal purposes, is hammering
      these animals."

      Bigger picture

      Of the 25 species listed, 23 are found in the world's "biodiversity
      hotspots".

      These are regions identified by CI which are home to more than 60% of all
      terrestrial plants and animals, although together they cover only 1.4% of
      the Earth's land surface.

      Six hotspots are judged the highest priorities for the survival of the most
      endangered primates.

      They are Indo-Burma, Madagascar, Sundaland (the islands of Sumatra, Java and
      Borneo), the Guinean forests of West Africa, the Atlantic forests of Brazil,
      and the western Ghats/Sri Lanka.

      Bill Constant of CI, co-author of the report, said the list of the top 25
      was just the tip of the iceberg. He said: "For each primate on it, any one
      of several other equally endangered species might have been chosen instead."

      Praise for Brazil

      The main cause of the primates' decline, the report says, is habitat loss
      caused by the clearing of tropical forests.

      It calls hunting "an insidious and major threat, especially in Africa and
      Asia. Once done mainly for subsistence purposes, it has now taken on a major
      commercial dimension."

      But the capture of animals for the pet trade and medical research "have
      become lesser concerns".

      The report says primates are important for ecosystem health, because they
      disperse fruit seeds and the remains of other food they eat.

      "It's important to mention that it is not all doom and gloom," Russ
      Mittermeier told BBC News Online.

      "There's some good stuff going on, especially in Brazil and Madagascar --
      and some of the species that were on the list last time have been taken off
      because they are doing better and some that are still on the list are in
      fact getting a lot of attention.

      "The technologies and the manpower are there to do it; what we need is an
      order of magnitude increase in resources so we can do it in many more
      places."

      .........

      THE TOP 25 MOST ENDANGERED PRIMATES:

      Greater bamboo lemur (Madagascar)
      Perrier's sifaka (Madagascar)
      Silky sifaka (Madagascar)
      Black-faced lion tamarin (Brazil)
      Buff-headed capuchin (Brazil)
      Northern muriqui (Brazil)
      Miss Waldron's red colobus (Ghana and Ivory Coast)
      Roloway guenon (Ghana and Ivory Coast)
      Tana River mangabey and Tana River red colobus (Kenya)
      Sanje mangabey (Tanzania)
      Natuna banded leaf monkey (Indonesia)
      Pig-tailed snub-nosed monkey or "simakobu" (Indonesia)
      Sumatran orang-utan (Indonesia)
      Delacour's langur (Vietnam)
      Golden-headed langur (Vietnam)
      White-headed langur (Vietnam)
      Grey-shanked douc (Vietnam)
      Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Vietnam)
      Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (China)
      Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (China)
      Eastern black-crested gibbon (China and Vietnam)
      Mountain gorilla (DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda)
      Cross River gorilla (Nigeria and Cameroon)

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