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One in every three primates now threatened with extinction

According to the report, 48 (87 percent) of the 55 critically endangered primates and 124 (89 percent) of the 140 endangered primates are found only in the biodiversity hotspots, for a total of 172 (88 percent) of the current 195. Six of the hotspots are considered the highest priorities for the survival of the world's most endangered primates: Indo-Burma, Madagascar, Sundaland, the Guinean Forests of West Africa, the Atlantic Forests of Brazil, and the Western Ghats/Sri Lanka.

"It's important to point out that the Top 25 list is just the tip of the iceberg and a call for more conservation action," said Bill Konstant of Conservation International and co-author of the report. "Essentially, for each primate on it, any one of several other equally threatened species might have been chosen instead. Changing conditions in any of the represented countries can lead to the rapid decline of any of the 195 species threatened with extinction."

Habitat loss due to the clearing of tropical forests for agriculture, timber extraction and the collection of fuel wood continues to be the major factor in the declining number of primates according to the report. However, hunting has been an insidious and major threat, especially in Africa and Asia. Once done mainly for subsistence purposes, it has now taken on a major commercial dimension. Live capture for the pet trade and export for biomedical research have become lesser concerns in recent decades, but still pose a threat to some species.

As flagship species, primates are important to the health of their surrounding ecosystems. Through the dispersal of fruit seeds and other foods they consume, primates help support a wide range of plant and animal life that make up the earth's forests. Nonhuman primates are our closest living relatives, and their loss is directly linked to the global extinction crisis.

"These 25 are facing a very serious risk of extinction due to the ongoing and ra
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Contact: Pamela Moyer
p.moyer@conservation.org
202-912-1294
Conservation International
7-Oct-2002


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