A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


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​.iuc​nredlist​.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.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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