Most primate species at risk of extinction, says report

Some of the world’s leading primatologists have warned that more than half of the world’s primate species are at risk of extinction, due to increasing anthropogenic pressures on their habitats. Jim Drury reports.

DURHAM, ENGLAND, UK (REUTERS) – Sixty percent of the world’s primates are at risk of extinction.

That’s the stark warning issued by 31 leading primatologists in the journal Science Advances.

They say tropical forests must be protected from “unsustainable pressures”.

Magdagascar and parts of Asia are the areas worst affected.


“The major problem is habitat loss and habitat conversion, and essentially it’s humans changing primate habitat into human habitat – logging for timber logging for conversion to agriculture, logging for cattle ranching; anything essentially that destroys tropical forests because primates are largely tropical forest species.”

The report’s authors say governments must tighten global trade regulations – and enforce existing legislation.

Helping loggers and hunters find alternative income sources is also key….

….while the public are asked to stop buying palm oil and tropical timber, and reduce our consumption habits.

There are more than 500 primate species, including humans.

Primatologists say it’s indefensible for us to allow some of our closest relatives to die out.


“We haven’t seen any primate species go extinct in the recent past, but we will begin to see extinction reports regularly, and that situation will accelerate….Species evolve and species go extinct. The difference between humans driving other primates extinct and chimpanzees, for example, hunting other primates is that we know what we’re doing. Other species that hunt don’t know that they’re eradicating other species, whereas we know that we’re doing it.”

The authors insist the problem is reversible, but say the clock is ticking for the future of hundreds of primate species.

Associated Links

  • Biology
  • Demography
  • Natural environment
  • Environmental conservation
  • Primate
  • Primatology
  • Extinction
  • Human impact on the environment
  • Holocene extinction