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Primate in Peril

 

The World's Top 25 Most Endangered Primates- 2002


"In January 2000, Conservation International released a report entitled The World's
Top 25 Most Endangered Primates, a list of threatened prosimians, monkeys and apes
whose survival beyond the present century will depend heavily on actions taken now by
our own species. The impetus for the original report was two competing realities, one
being the lack of any documented primate extinctions during the 20th century-a remarkable
record in light of recorded losses among other groups of animals during the same period-
and the other being the results of an assessment that identified approximately 120 of the
world's estimated 638 types of primate as being in serious danger of extinction within the
next few decades. The top 25 that we named in 2000 were merely the tip of the iceberg.


"Two years later, we have decided to release a new report based upon updated information,
especially with regard to Asian primates. Since the original report, the Species Survival
Commission (SSC) of IUCN- The World Conservation Union launched a program of
ongoing conservation status assessments for the world's threatened plant and animal species.
As many experts had feared, the number of species threatened with extinction continues to
rise despite our best efforts to ensure their survival. This new report considers preliminary
results from primate workshops and assessments that have recently been conducted in India,
Indonesia, Madagascar and Vietnam, and that recommend listing as many as 195 primate
species and subspecies as endangered or critically endangered.


"According to the IUCN, a primate is


1. Endangered (EN) if the extent of its occurrence is estimated to be less than 1,930 mi
(5,000 km2), if its population is estimated to number less than 2,500 individuals, and/or
if quantitative analysis shows the probability of extinction in the wild to be at least 20%
within 20 years or five generations.


2. Critically Endangered (CR) if the extent of its occurrence is estimated to be less than
38.6 mi (100 km), if its population is estimated to be less than 250 individuals, and/or if
quantitative analysis shows the probability of extinction in the wild to be at least 50% within
10 years or three generations.  These two categories represent what we refer to as the most
endangered species, at significantly greater risk of extinction than those evaluated by IUCN
and categorized as vulnerable, near threatened or not at risk. New assessments suggest that,
from approximately 20% only a few years ago, we should now consider more than 30% -
close to one in every three-of all primates to be seriously threatened with extinction. The
increase from 120 to almost 200 largely reflects new information available from Asian countries.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Asia now accounts for almost 45% -only slightly less than
half-of the world's most endangered primates, or not many less than the three other major
regions where primates occur-the Neotropics, Africa and Madagascar- combined."


The full report is available at:
Full report

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Topics in Primate Conservation is supported by a grant RR00167,
Regional Primate Centers Program, National Center for Research
Resources, The National Institutes of Health.
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Posted Date: 10-16-02