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Primate Conservation

Every species of primate, with the exception of humans, has been listed as either a threatened or an endangered species. These materials are designed to introduce students to some of the reasons why one group of animals is facing extinction; and some of the methods that are being used to help save them. Many of the problems that primates face revolve around the loss or degradation of their habitat. This slide/text set first introduces the ways in which primates use their habitat, and then shows some of the human activities that lead to the loss of that habitat.

The second half of the set looks at conservation programs that focus on saving endangered primates. A brief look at the role of zoos and captive breeding is followed by an extensive look at efforts to save the mountain gorilla in Africa and the black howler monkey in Central America. Both projects were created through the work of Wisconsin-based scientists (Bill Weber and Amy Vedder in Africa; Robert Horwich in Central America) and continue with the help of local and international organizations.

Topics related to primate conservation which are not specifically covered in this set because other good instructional materials are available for those topics are: rainforests and the species that live in them; use of primates in biomedical research; and the laws that protect endangered species.

Planning suggestion
This slide set can be used in one 50-minute period, but splitting it into two lessons will give you and the students more time to work with the material. Appropriate break points are between slides 33 and 34 (the problems and the solutions), or slides 42 and 43 (the need for conservation and two specific conservation projects.)

TAKE-HOME IDEAS: (what your students should remember).

  1. Know some ways that primates use their habitat.
  2. Understand the problems created when habitat is broken up into isolated islands.
  3. Remember the goals of a successful conservation program.
  4. Think of ways they can help conservation efforts.