Why our primates are disappearing and what we can do about it.
Scientists have warned that the world’s primates could face extinction if current lack of conservation continues.
Nearly 60 percent of species are under threat of extinction according to a large global study involving 30 top scientists who assessed around 500 different species of primate. Seventy-five percent of species have indicated a dramatic decline leading many to urge more to be done about preserving populations.
Most of the demise is down to loss of habitat through deforestation and industrial agriculture as well as hunting for meat.
“Forests are destroyed when primate habitat is converted to industrial agriculture, leaving primates with nowhere to live and primates are hunted for meat and trade, either as pets or as body parts. Other threats – all driven by human behaviour – are forest clearance for livestock and cattle ranching; oil and gas drilling and mining. The short answer is that we must reduce human domination of the planet, and learn to share space with other species,” explained Prof Jo Setchell from Durham University in England who was involved in the study.
One of the most recent controversial debates is that of palm oil that’s found in many products we buy as consumers. Not only does the extraction and production of palm oil contribute hugely to climate change, it also paves the way for the need to cut down vast areas of rainforest where many primate species live.
Making smart choices when it comes to the products we buy can help contribute to the stop of extinction for these animals.
“We need to raise local, regional and global public awareness of the plight of the world’s primates and what this means for ecosystem health, human culture, and ultimately human survival. In industrialised nations, we must decrease our demand for resources that we don’t need, and stop confusing wants with needs,” Setchell points out.
Details of the study were published in the journal Science Advances.