This week sees the release of the latest Primates in Peril report by the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. The report, which is updated every two years, highlights the 25 primate species which are most at risk from extinction through the effects of deforestation, the wildlife trade and commercial bush meat hunting.
The current report includes six species from Madagascar, giving it the most at-risk species of any individual country. The lemurs, which are endemic to Madagascar, are one of the most threatened vertebrate groups ever recorded, with a workshop earlier this year, also held by the Primate Specialist Group, finding that 91% of lemur species and subspecies are threatened with extinction.
Other species on the list this year include the pygmy tarsier of southern and central Sulawesi, the Cross River gorilla, from the Cameroon-Nigerian border area, and the kipunji, which is found only in Tanzania.
Dr Christoph Schwitzer, one of the experts from the Primate Specialist Group, said, “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.”
Despite this, there are positive things to report in primate conservation. Dedicated efforts from conservationists have ensured that no primate species have gone extinct in the 20th or 21st century, though some are still at high risk. The greater bamboo lemur and the lion-tailed macaque have even been removed from the Primates in Peril list, as their status has improved after years of conservation effort.
Over the coming weeks, we will continue to update the Handshake website with further information about the species on the list, and organisations you can support which are working to conserve them.
To see the full 2012-2014 Primates in Peril list, click here, or to read the IUCN press release, go to http://www.iucn.org/?11259/Primates-in-peril–conservationists-reveal-the-worlds-25-most-endangered-primates.