Conservationists reveal the world's 25 most endangered primates
Bristol, England – The world's 25 most endangered primates
have been revealed in a new report.
Mankind's closest living relatives – the world's apes, monkeys, lemurs and
other primates – are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent
conservation measures according to Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most
Endangered Primates, 2008-2010.
The report reveals that nearly half of all primate species are now in danger
of becoming extinct from destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade
and commercial bushmeat hunting.
The list includes five primate species from Madagascar, six from Africa, 11
from Asia, and three from Central and South America, all of which are the most
in need of urgent conservation action.
Compiled by 85 experts from across the world, the report was launched at
Bristol Zoo Gardens today, with guests from national and international
conservation and research organizations.
Conservationists want to
highlight the plight of species such as the golden headed langur
(Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus), which is found only on the island of
Cat Ba in the Gulf of Tonkin, northeastern Vietnam, where just 60 to 70
Similarly, there are thought to be less than 100 individual northern sportive
lemurs (Lepilemur septentrionalis) left in Madagascar, and around just
110 eastern black crested gibbons (Nomascus nasutus) in northeastern
The list has been drawn up by primatologists working in the field who have
first-hand knowledge of the causes of threats to primates. One of the editors of
the report is Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Head of Research at the Bristol
Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), a sister organisation of Bristol Zoo
Dr Schwitzer, who is also an adviser on Madagascan primates for the IUCN/SSC
Primate Specialist Group, contributed the chapter on the Endangered Sclater's
lemur (also called the blue-eyed black lemur). Dr Schwitzer said: "This report
makes for very alarming reading and it underlines the extent of the danger
facing many of the world's primates. We hope it will be effective in drawing
attention to the plight of each of the 25 species included. Support and action
to help save these species is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful
Almost half (48 percent) 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, and the illegal wildlife trade.
Dr Russell Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and
President of Conservation International, said: "The results from the most recent
IUCN assessment of the world's mammals indicate that the primates are among the
most endangered vertebrate groups.
"The purpose of our Top 25 list is to highlight those that are most at risk,
to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do
more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately needed
conservation measures. In particular, we want to encourage governments to commit
to desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures when they gather in
Japan in October. We have the resources to address this crisis, but so far, we
have failed to act. We have chosen Bristol Zoo Gardens to launch this year's
list, the fifth since 2001, because of the great leadership that this
institution has taken in primate conservation in some of the world's highest
Dr Schwitzer added: "This research is a good example of the growing
importance of collaboration between the international conservation, research and
zoo communities in the protection of species and habitats. At Bristol Zoo
Gardens, we will continue our conservation and research with the aim of
increasing the effectiveness of the conservation activities, as well as
increasing our understanding of these, and other, critically endangered
Despite the gloomy assessment, conservationists point to the success in
helping targeted species recover. In Brazil, the black lion tamarin
(Leontopithecus chrysopygus) was down listed to Endangered from
Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as was the golden lion tamarin
(Leontopithecus rosalia) in 2003, as a result of three decades of
conservation efforts involving numerous institutions, many of which were zoos.
Populations of both animals are now well-protected but remain very small,
indicating an urgent need for reforestation to provide new habitat for their
Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008-2010
has been compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN's Species
Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS), in
collaboration with Conservation International (CI).
Footage available at: ftp://ftp.conservation.org/
folder: BROLL FOR MEDIA/Most Endangered
For more information please
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Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation
Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), part of the
Bristol Zoologican Society, is supported by, and based at, Bristol Zoo Gardens.
It carries out science and conservation projects at home and abroad.
BCSF carries out field conservation programmes in the wild and
conservation research programmes, both in the wild and at Bristol Zoo
The field projects carried out by BCSF are each linked to major
exhibits at Bristol Zoo.
BCSF is made up of an international team of experts dedicated to
mobilising people for wildlife conservation and science.
BCSF is working to empower communities to tackle their wildlife
and conservation challenges and conducts high quality
Bristol Zoo Gardens
- Bristol Zoo Gardens is part of the Bristol Zoological Society, and is an
education and conservation charity which relies on the income from visitors to
support its work.
- Throughout 2010, Bristol Zoo will be running a series of events to highlight
the importance of conserving the world's biodiversity, as part of the
international Year of Biodiversity. For more information visit the Zoo website
- To find out more about the UN's International Year of Biodiversity visit the
website at www.biodiversityislife.net
- The Zoo is involved with more than 100 co-ordinated breeding programmes for
threatened wildlife species.
- It employs 140 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a
successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work.
- Bristol Zoo Gardens supports – through finance and skill sharing - 12
projects in the UK and abroad that conserve and protect some of the world's most
- Bristol Zoo Gardens is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos
and Aquariums. BIAZA represents 99 member collections and promotes the values of
good zoos and aquariums.
- Bristol Zoo Gardens is also a member of the World Association of Zoos and
Aquariums (WAZA) as well as the European Associations of Zoos and Aquariums
Conservation International (CI)
International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and
community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and
animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness
areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in Washington, DC, CI works
in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI,
The International Primatological Society (IPS)
The International Primatological Society (IPS) was created to
encourage all areas of non-human primatological scientific research, to
facilitate cooperation among scientists of all nationalities engaged in primate
research, and to promote the conservation of all primate species. The Society is
organized exclusively for scientific, educational and charitable purposes. For
more information about IPS, visit www.internationalprimatologicalsociety.org
The IUCN Species Programme
The IUCN Species
Program supports the activities of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC)
and individual Specialist Groups, as well as implementing global species
conservation initiatives. It is an integral part of the IUCN Secretariat and is
managed from IUCN's international headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. It
includes a number of technical units covering Species Trade and Use, Red List,
Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment, (all located in Cambridge, UK), and the
Global Biodiversity Assessment Initiative (located in Washington DC, USA). For
more information about the IUCN species program visit www.iucn.org/species