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Primate Protection



Read more about colobus monkeys
Black & White Colobus
© Smithsonian Institute

According 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.

Deforestation 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.

Primates 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 for extinction.

Here are some web sites devoted to protecting primates and other threatened animals:

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