This week the list of the World’s 25 most endangered primates was released, highlighting which of man’s closest relatives are on the brink extinction and are most in need of conservation attention.
The report, Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008–2010, compiled by 85 experts from across the world, reveals that almost half of the world’s 634 primate species are classified as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The main threats are habitat destruction, particularly from the burning and clearing of tropical forests (which results in the release of around 16 percent of the global greenhouse gases causing climate change), the hunting of primates for food (bushmeat), and the illegal wildlife trade.
Six of the species on the top 25 most endangered primates list also appear on the EDGE Mammals list of conservation priorities. The greater bamboo lemur, ranked =23rd on the EDGE list, was believed to have gone extinct in the twentieth century but was rediscovered in 1972. One of few mammals adapted to eating bamboo, this species is unable to adapt to its rapidly changing habitat.
The Peruvian yellow-tailed woolly monkey was protected until the 1970s by the inaccessibility of its habitat, but road constructions have fragmented the restricted habitat and has led to increased logging. Fewer than 250 individuals are thought to survive today, and this monkey is ranked 79 as a conservation priority on the EDGE Mammals list.
The other EDGE species in the most endangered primates list are the orangutan (ranked 97), Tana River red colobus (rank 149), gorilla (165) and northern sportive lemur (=623).
The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates: 2008–2010, by region:
Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus)
Gray-headed Lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps)
Sclater’s Black Lemur/Blue-Eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons)
Northern sportive lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)
Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus)
Rondo Dwarf Galago (Galagoides rondoensis)
Roloway Guenon (Cercopithecus diana roloway)
Tana River Red Colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus)
Niger Delta Red Colobus Monkey (Procolobus epieni)
Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)
Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)
Siau Island Tarsier (Tarsius tumpara)
Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus javanicus)
Simakobu or Pig-Tailed Snub-Nose Langur (Simias concolor)
Delacour’s Langur (Trachypithecus delacouri)
Golden-headed Langur or Cat Ba Langur (Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus)
Western Purple-faced Langur Trachypithecus (Semnopithecus vetulus nestor)
Grey-shanked Douc Monkey (Pygathrix cinerea)
Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus)
Eastern Black Crested Gibbon (Nomascus nasutus)
Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock)
Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)
Central and South America
Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus)
Variegated or Brown Spider Monkey (Ateles hybridus)
Peruvian Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey (Oreonax flavicauda)