to figures published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), more
than 110 species of primates-nearly half of the world's total-are
currently under threat of extinction. This makes the primates among
the most vulnerable animals on earth. At one time the black
and white colobus monkey, was captured and killed for its fur,
which was a very desirable commodity among rich Europeans. Today,
most people would oppose killing monkeys for fur, but other threats
have appeared which are far more serious.
is probably the biggest threat, the most severe example being Madagascar,
the home of the lemur. It is also taking place at a rapid rate in
Southeast Asia, threatening the gibbon
and the orangutan. In Brazil, the destruction
of the Atlantic Rainforest has made the golden
lion tamarin one of the most endangered species in the world.
are also threatened by collection for the pet trade and by hunting.
Illegal hunting is the chief threat facing the mountain gorilla,
a rare African subspecies that lives in the politically volatile
border region straddling Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic
of the Congo.
In the face
of these threats, there are people working to save primates and
other endangered species. The Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) currently
forbids the export of many primates, although not all countries
have chosen to follow this law. Without the preservation of extensive
and suitable natural habitats, many primate species are destined
Here are some
web sites devoted to protecting primates and other threatened animals: