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A Collection of News by Moos

Biodiversity in the news, articles that stood out and caught my attention.



Primates are facing an extinction crisis – urgent action required!

published 21 January 2017 | modified 21 January 2017


Primate speciesWorldwide, around 60 per cent of the 500 known primate species are threatened with extinction. Primates live in tropical and subtropical areas and are mainly found in regions of Africa, South America, Madagascar and Asia. However, the extinction of a species must be considered a global problem. An international research team of 31 prominent scientists evaluated the economic, social, cultural, ecological and scientific importance of primates and the global consequences of species extinctions. They call for a strengthening of awareness and a rethinking of the impending extinction events. In order to protect primates, immediate action must be focused on conservation and sustainability. Their report is published on 18 January in the journal Science Advances.

Golden snub-nosed monkey, ring-tailed lemur, Javan slow loris, Azara’s night monkey are just a small sample of the large diversity of primates that still exists to date. They are an essential part of tropical biodiversity, contribute to natural regeneration and thus to the functioning of tropical habitats and are an integral part of many cultures and religions. Worldwide, more than half of all primate species are threatened with extinction. This had already been concluded in 2015 along with the latest edition of ‘Primates in Peril: The world’s 25 most endangered primates’. This report, which is updated every two years, highlights the plight of 25 primate species and is compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, Bristol Zoological Society, the International Primatological Society, and Conservation International.

Global primate species richnessGlobal primate species richness, distributions, and the percentage of species threatened and with declining populations.Geographic distribution of primate species. Numbers in red by each region refer to the number of extant species present. The bars at the bottom show the percent of species threatened with extinction and the percent of species with declining populations in each region. Percentage of threatened species and percentage of species with declining populations in each region from tables S1 to S4. Geographical range data of living, native species from the IUCN Red List (www.iucnredlist.org) are overlaid onto a 0.5° resolution equal-area grid. In cases in which a species’ range was split into multiple subspecies, these were merged to create a range map for the species. Mainland Africa includes small associated islands.
Estrada et al., 2017.Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter in Science Advances.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license

In order to evaluate the role of human-induced threats to primate survival, the researchers combined data from the International Red List of the world nature conservation organization International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with data from the United Nations database. This enabled the scientists to establish forecasts and development trends for the next 50 years. For the next 50 years the scientists predict extinction events for many primate species.


Humans increasingly encroach primate habitats and exploit natural resources

Christian Roos, co-author, German Primate Center (DPZ) >>

The natural habitat of primates is mostly found in regions with high levels of poverty and a lack of education. These conditions lead to the exploitation of natural resources. Deforestation for agricultural land-use has become widespread. Road networks are built for the transportation and the export of goods. Around 76 per cent of the species have lost large parts of their habitat because of agricultural expansion. Another major threat is illegal hunting and the primate trade. In some regions, up to 90 per cent of species are affected.

Urgent action is required
Immediate action in these regions should be aimed at improving health and providing access to education for the local populations. In order to preserve the traditional livelihoods that will contribute to food security and environmental protection, sustainable land-use initiatives must be developed. "The lifestyle and the economy in the industrialized countries contribute to the threat for primates. Many of the resources and products such as mineral resources, beef, palm oil and soya that are destroying the habitats of primates are ultimately consumed in industrialized countries," says Eckhard W. Heymann, a scientist at the DPZ and one of the co-authors of the study.

The team of experts calls on government officials, academics, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the business community and citizens to strengthen the awareness of the extinction events and the immediate consequences for humans. "Conservation is an ecological, cultural and social necessity. When our closest relatives, the non-human primates, become extinct, this will send a warning signal that the living conditions for humans will soon deteriorate dramatically," says Heymann.


(Source: German Primate Center – DPZ press release, 18.01.2017; IUCN news release, 24.11.2015)


UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map


"Tiger map" (CC BY 2.5) by Sanderson et al., 2006.


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