The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great Apes Are Being Hunted


Apes may be our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, but our effort to protect them has been, thus far, limited. In fact, we have done much to threaten apes, and primates in general, around the world. A recent study, drawing on the work of hundreds of scientists and surveying primate populations around the world found that nearly half of all species are at risk of extinction. What is the source of this threat to our hairy cousins and what can we do about it?

One of the leading threats to primates is the loss of habitat. Dr. Russell Mittermeier, the chairman of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's primate specialist group, explained that "tropical forest destruction has always been the main cause" of the increasingly dire situation. Rainforests around the world are under stress, being cleared at record rates for their lumber and to create agriculture land for cash crops and biofuels. As these habitats shrink, primates and other animals are forced into more regular contact with humans, which bring us to the next problem.

Hunting of primates has become a significant issue. Dr. Mittermeier explains that "it appears…hunting is just as serious a threat in some areas [as habitat loss], even where the habitat is still quite intact. In many places, primates are quite literally being eaten to extinction." Animals are being hunted for both bushmeat and to supply the global, illegal, wildlife trade.

These two factors have led to a bleak conclusion for the state of world primates. The Guardian sums up the situation:

There are 634 species and sub-species of primate including apes, monkeys, tarsiers and prosimians. Of these, 69 are now categorised as critically endangered, 137 as endangered, 97 as vulnerable and 36 as near threatened.

In Africa, 63 species or subspecies are in the top three categories (37% of African primates). The new assessment moved L'Hoest's monkey (Cercopithecus l'hoesti), which is found in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda, from vulnerable to endangered, for example.

In Asia, 120 species or sub-species are threatened (71%). The grey-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix cinerea) in Vietnam has been moved from endangered to critically endangered.

In Madagascar, 41 species and sub-species are threatened (43%). The black-and-white ruffed lemur, (Varecia variegata) for example, was endangered and is now considered critically endangered.

In Mexico, south and central America 79 species and sub-species are listed as threatened (40%). The cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) is now critically endangered, but was endangered."


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