Primate conservation - Vervet Monkeys and their Conservation

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Primate conservation

Primate conservation

There are a great deal of threats to primates throughout the world. These threats include deforestation, forest fragmentation, monkey drives, hunting for use in traditional medicines, the pet trade, or food. The extent of these activities vary according to local economic conditions, traditions, religion and politics. The greatest threat to primates is large scale forest clearing for agriculture, commercial logging, mining, and dam construction. The ultimate driving force of this forest loss is the growing human population.

The rate of forest loss has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. In the 1990's 15.2 million ha were lost in the tropics anually. From 2000-2005 South America lost 4.3 million ha and Africa lost 4 million ha annually resulting in a loss of over 50% of ancestral forest cover around the world. There are certain aspects of primate biology that exacerbates their extinction risk. Their large body size makes them a more profitable target for hunters. Their long life history means that they cannot easily recover from losses due to human impacts.

Primates that eat a diet that consists of a high proportion of fruits play an important role as seed dispersers. They also have a role as predators, prey and competitors. They are part of a healthy forest and are integral in forest regeneration. Forests are important for the prevention of soil erosion and degradation, limiting the greenhouse gas effect, providing subsistence resources, protecting the watersheds. They are a source of commercial timber. Forests are a source of recreation and subsistence.

As well as all the ecosystem services primates provide, they are our closest relatives and have complex social structures and substantial emotional and cognitive capacity. Their numbers are dwindling because of human activities and the world would be a sadder place without them.

Bushmeat trade, West Africa

Mountain gorillas, Virunga National Park

Primate pet trade

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