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The World's Primates Threatened With Extinction Crisis

Jan 19, 2017 11:27 AM EST
McHumba The Female Pygmy Chimpanzee
Scientists discovered that bonobos, also known as pygmy chimpanzees, are actually humans' closest living ancestor.
(Photo : San Diego Zoo/Newsmakers via Getty Images)

Our fellow primates are dying. A new study revealed the distressing condition of the primate populations worldwide with 60 percent of the 500 different primate species already facing possible extinction. It's also unsurprising that humans are one of the reasons for their demise.

According to a report from Science Daily, an international research team that includes scientists form the German Primate Center (DPZ) published their findings in Science Advances. They observed data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as well as the United Nations' database to create a forecast for the upcoming 50 years. Many primates are predicted to flirt or experience extinction in that time frame.

The study revealed that about 75 percent of all primate species are already in decline and 60 percent are threatened with extinction, a report from New York Times said. All species of apes are threatened including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and 19 species of gibbons. Roughly 87 percent of lemur species are as well, while a number of other primate species are critically endangered.

Human exploitation of their habitats play a huge role in the decreasing numbers of many creatures. From deforestation and agricultural expansion to illegal hunting and primate trade, human activity has taken over the habitats of many primate species.

"The lifestyle and the economy in the industrialized countries contribute to the threat for primates," co-author of the study Eckhard W. Heymann explained to Science Daily. "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."

He added, "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."

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