Thursday, November 1, 2007

Third of primates 'under threat'

The report says many apes, monkeys and other primates are being driven from the forests where they live or killed to make food and medicines.

...Of particular concern are the Hainan gibbon from China and Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey from Ivory Coast, both of which have only a few surviving creatures left in the wild.

The report says the threat to primates is worst in Asia where tropical forests are being destroyed and many monkeys are being hunted or traded as pets.

...Scientists have been warning for decades about the growing human threat to animal species around the world, but this study says we should be especially concerned about primates because they are the closest living relatives of humans.

Thanks to habitat destruction, poaching and being made into bushmeat, medicines and pets, primates are now facing their first possible extinctions in more than a century, according to a recent report by the US-based environmental group Conservation International.

..."You could fit all the surviving members of these 25 species in a single football stadium - that's how few of them remain on earth today," said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservational International's Primate Specialist Group.

...Mittermeier remarked that the loss of tropical forests and other primate habitats is a major concern in their long-term survival; yet, if reforestation projects were to be included in U.N. programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it could prove to be a "magnificent opportunity" to save both primates and sequester carbon.

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