A new study has determined that primate extinction is a more serious matter than previously believed as 60 percent of the species are threatened by extinction.
2016 came with quite a significant number of newly discovered species. But it also came with many warnings and emergency plans for endangered species.
2017 seems to be following in its tracks. Some new species were registered. And others revealed their critical status. And some such animals are the world’s biggest primates.
Earlier this week, a University of Colorado professor drew attention to their precarious state. Joanna Lambert, a Colorado University Department of Biological Anthropology is the coauthor to a new study.
The paper targets the potential primate extinction. It was released earlier this week. Research results were published in the Science Advances journal. The study is titled as follows. “Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter”.
Lambert, the aforementioned coauthor, offered a statement. Her opinion is as follows. “At the rate we are going, we’re not taking care of our home very well.” And according to her: “The next few years will be critical.”.
The study analyzed the state of 504 primates. This is the total number of known species. At least for the moment. And the research pointed out some concerning facts. Three-quarters of their populations are facing declines. And around 60 percent are potentially going extinct.
According to Lambert, these aren’t news. The involved scientific community reportedly knew that primates are quite in danger. But the primate extinction study draws attention to it. “… this paper represents the first sort of bug, integrated evaluation of the issues”.
The coauthor also declared the following. “Our goal in writing it was to call attention to the fact that most primate species are indeed faced with extinction. We have known about it for a while, and this is a way of getting the word out.”
Research on the matter also noted a potential cause. A most probable one. The primates’ biped relatives, humans. Human activity has led to habitat loss. And this is not the only factor. Bushmeat hunting is another vehiculated factor. As well as the illegal primate trade. Both on a local and global market.
Climate changes have also been determined as being a potential cause. As were diseases. Especially human to animal transmitted ones.
The study paper notes as follows. “This situation is the result of escalating anthropogenic pressures on primates and their habitats – mainly global and local market demands”.
Another abstract point out the human-caused pressures and their motivation. “… leading to extensive habitat loss through the expansion of industrial agriculture, large-scale cattle ranching, logging…”. Gas and oil drilling, as well as mining, were included in the category.
The potential primate extinction could affect all the known species. This includes 87 percent of all the lemurs. As well as orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas.
The study found that around two-thirds of all the species can be found in 4 countries. These are Brazil, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Madagascar.
Lambert calls the situation a “negative feedback loop”. By this, she is referring to the effect of the potential primate extinction on the environment. “As we are losing primates, forests are not regenerating the way they should be”.
This is because of seed dispersal. Lambert has been studying the dispersal of the fruits eaten by the species and their role in the forest regeneration.
It is difficult to establish how many primate species have already disappeared. The primate extinction is, in a way, counteracted by the new discoveries.
“We find new monkeys and prosimian species regularly. This suggests that if there are unknown species we are only now discovering, it’s equally unknown how many species we are simultaneously losing, without ever knowing they are there.”
The study states that “there’s no single solution to this global problem”. Still, there is also a “sense of the urgency of it all” according to Lambert.
Still, she also said that “individual action matters absolutely. Citizens can make a difference, both locally and internationally.”
Image Source: Pixabay