Primate Info Net Banner Wisconsin PRC Logo

Primate Conservation

 
Coordinators:  Dean Anderson and Nancy Ruggeri, Department of Zoology,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

_________________________________________________________________

The following is an excerpt from Mittermeier, R. A.,
A. B. Rylands, W. R. Konstant.  1999.  Primates of the
world: an introduction.  In R. M. Nowak, WALKER'S PRIMATES
OF THE WORLD, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, pp. 1-52.

The most recent, comprehensive conservation status assessment
of the world's primates is included in the 1996 IUCN Red List
of Threatened Animals (Baillie and Groombridge 1996), a
collaborative effort of the World Conservation Union Species
Survival Commission, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre,
and BirdLife International. This document differs significantly
from past Red Lists in its use of new categories and criteria
for threat. All primate taxa were included in this assessment
and have been identified either as Threatened (a designation
that includes the categories Critically Endangered, Endangered,
and Vulnerable), Lower Risk: Conservation Dependent, Lower Risk:
Near Threatened, Lower Risk: Least Concern, Extinct and Extinct
in the Wild, and Data Deficient. In general terms, a threatened
taxon is defined as:

1. Critically Endangered if the extent of its occurrence is
estimated to be less than lOO km2, if its population is estimated
to be less than 25O mature individuals, and/or if quantitative
analysis indicates the probability of extinction in the wild is
at least 5O percent within 1O years or three generations;

2. Endangered if the extent of its occurrence is estimated to be
less than 5,OOO km2, if its population is estimated to number
less than 2,5OO individuals, and/or if quantitative analysis
shows the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 2O
percent within 2O years or five generations; and

3. Vulnerable if the extent of its occurrence is estimated to be
less than 2O,OOO km2, if its population is estimated to number
less than 1O,OOO individuals, and/or if quantitative analysis
shows the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 1O
percent within 1OO years.

As a result of this assessment, 204 (roughly one-third) of the
world's 65O or so primate taxa are currently considered
Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable. Of these,
103 taxa (16.6 percent) are listed as Critically Endangered or
Endangered.  All members of eight genera-Allocebus, Varecia,
Indri, Leontopithecus, Brachyteles, Simias, Pan, and Gorilla
are considered Critically Endangered or Endangered, and the
monotypic family Daubentoniidae is Endangered.

The following is a breakdown of threatened primates by region
(CR = Critically Endangered, E = Endangered).

Neotropics: 202 taxa; 69 threatened; 34 CR + E.

Africa: 190 taxa; 40 threatened; 29 CR + E.

Madagascar: 51 taxa; 35 threatened; 17 CR + E.

Asia: 176 taxa; 60 threatened; CR + E.

The IUCN was established in 1948 to promote and carry out
scientifically based action for the conservation and
sustainable use of living natural resources. The IUCN enrolls
sovereign states, governmental agencies, research institutions,
and nongovernmental organizations to conserve the world's
natural heritage. The Species Survival Commission (SSC), founded
in 1949, is the largest of the IUCN's six commissions with more
than 7,OOO volunteer member scientists, field researchers,
government officials, and conservation leaders from 188 countries.
The SSC works principally through its more than 1OO Specialist
Groups, of which Primate Specialist Group is one of the largest
(Butynski 1996/1997; Eudey 1996/1997; Ganzhorn et al. 1996/1997;
Rylands et al. 1996/1997).

The mission of the Primate Specialist Group is to maintain the
current diversity of the order Primates, with dual emphasis on:
(1) ensuring the survival of endangered and vulnerable species
wherever they occur and (2) providing effective protection for
large numbers of primates in areas of high primate diversity
and/or abundance.

Although activities under way in many parts of the world make
it inevitahle that a proportion of the world's forests and the
primates living in them will disppear, the role of the Primate
Specialist Group is to minimize this loss wherever possible by:

setting aside special protected areas for critically endangered,
endangered, and vulnerakle species;

creating national parks and reserves in areas of high primate
diversity and/or abundance;

maintaining parks and reserves that already exist and enforcing
protective legislation in them;

determining ways in which human and nonhuman primates can coexist
in multiple-use areas;

establishing conservation-oriented captive breeding programs for
threatened taxa;

ending all illegal and otherwise destructive traffic in primates;
ensuring that research institutions using primates are aware of
conservation issues and the status of species they use, that they
use primates as prudently as possible, and that they make every
attempt to breed in captivity most or all of the primates they
require; and

creating public awareness of the need for primate conservation
and the importance of primates as a natural heritage in the
countries in which they occur.

Literature Cited

Baillie, J., and B. Groombridge (compilers). 1996. IUCN Red List
of Threatened Animals, The World Conservation Union (IUCN),
Species Survival Commission (SSC), Gland, Switzerland.

Butynski, T.M.  1996/1997.  African primate conservation-the
species and IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group Network. Primate
Conservation (17):87-100.

Eudey, A.A. 1987. Action Plan for Asian Primate Conservation:
1987-1991, IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Gland Switzerland.

Ganzhorn, J.U., O. Langrand, P.C. Wright, S. O'Connor,
B. Rakotosamimanana, A. T. C. Feistner, and y. Rumpler.  1996/1997.
The state of lemur conservation in Madagascar.  Primate Conservation
(17):70-86.

Rylands, A. B., E. Rodriguez-Luna, and L. Cortes-Ortiz. 1996/1997.
Neotropical primate conservation-the species and the IUCN/SSC
Primate Specialist Group network.  Primate Conservation (17):46-69.

_________________________________________________________________
Topics in Primate Conservation is supported by a grant RR00167,
Regional Primate Centers Program, National Center for Research
Resources, The National Institutes of Health.  Please contact the
coordinators for permission to repost or republished this material.