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Thursday, February 18, 2010

World's most endangered primates revealed

World's most endangered primates revealed

18 February 2010 | News - Press Release
Mankind’s closest living relatives – the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and other primates – are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures according to Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008–2010.
The report, compiled by 85 experts from across the world, reveals that nearly half of all primate species are now in danger of becoming extinct from destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bushmeat hunting. The list includes five primate species from Madagascar, six from Africa, 11 from Asia, and three from Central and South America, all of which are the most in need of urgent conservation action.
Conservationists want to highlight the plight of species such as the golden headed langur (Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus), which is found only on the island of Cat Ba in the Gulf of Tonkin, north-eastern Vietnam, where just 60 to 70 individuals remain. Similarly, there are thought to be less than 100 individual northern sportive lemurs (Lepilemur septentrionalis) left in Madagascar, and around 110 eastern black crested gibbons (Nomascus nasutus) in northeastern Vietnam.
The list has been drawn up by primatologists working in the field who have first-hand knowledge of the causes of threats to primates.
“This report makes for very alarming reading and it underlines the extent of the danger facing many of the world’s primates,” says report editor Dr Schwitzer, advisor to the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Head of Research at the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation“We hope it will be effective in drawing attention to the plight of each of the 25 species included. Support and action to help save these species is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful animals forever.”
Almost half (48 percent) of the world’s 634 primate species are classified as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The main threats are habitat destruction, particularly from the burning and clearing of tropical forests (which results in the release of around 16 percent of the global greenhouse gases causing climate change), the hunting of primates for food, and the illegal wildlife trade.
“The results from the most recent IUCN assessment of the world’s mammals indicate that primates are among the most endangered vertebrate groups,” says Dr Russell Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and President of Conservation International“The purpose of our Top 25 list is to highlight those that are most at risk, to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately needed conservation measures. We want governments to commit to desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures when they gather in Japan in October. We have the resources to address this crisis, but so Despite the gloomy assessment, conservationists point to the success in helping targeted species recover. In Brazil, the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) was down listed to Endangered from Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as was the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) in 2003, as a result of three decades of conservation efforts involving numerous institutions, many of which were zoos. Populations of both animals are now well-protected but remain very small, indicating an urgent need for reforestation to provide new habitat for their long-term survival.

Notes to Editors
Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008–2010 has been compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS), in collaboration with Conservation International (CI).

The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates: 2008–2010, by region:, we have failed to act.”
Greater Bamboo Lemur Prolemur simus
Gray-headed Lemur Eulemur cinereiceps
Sclater’s Black Lemur, Blue-Eyed Black Lemur Eulemur flavifrons
Northern sportive lemur Lepilemur septentrionalis
Silky Sifaka Propithecus candidus
Rondo Dwarf Galago Galagoides rondoensis
Roloway Guenon Cercopithecus diana roloway
Tana River Red Colobus Procolobus rufomitratus
Niger Delta Red Colobus Monkey Procolobus epieni
Kipunji Rungwecebus kipunji
Cross River Gorilla Gorilla gorilla diehli
Siau Island Tarsier Tarsius tumpara
Javan Slow Loris Nycticebus javanicus
Simakobu or Pig-Tailed Snub-Nose Langur Simias concolor
Delacour’s Langur Trachypithecus delacouri
Golden-headed Langur or Cat Ba Langur Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus
Western Purple-faced Langur Trachypithecus (Semnopithecus) vetulus nestor
Grey-shanked Douc Monkey Pygathrix cinerea
Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Rhinopithecus avunculus
Eastern Black Crested Gibbon Nomascus nasutus
Western Hoolock Gibbon Hoolock hoolock
Sumatran Orangutan Pongo abelii
Central and South America
Cotton-top Tamarin Saguinus oedipus
Variegated or Brown Spider Monkey Ateles hybridus
Peruvian Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey Oreonax flavicauda
Photos available at:
Illustrations available at:
Footage available at (copy and paste in your browser):
username: mediaguest
password: paris0405!
folder: BROLL FOR MEDIA/Most Endangered Primates_2010

Full report available
About IUCN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.
IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

If we humans do not take notice that our closest living relatives on the planet are in danger of extinction,then what does this say about us as a species? According to the website: ,:
"Rainforests are being destroyed because the value of rainforest land is perceived as only the value of its timber by short-sighted governments, multi-national logging companies, and land owners."One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries.Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation.Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientistsMost rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations, even by world giants like Mitsubishi Corporation, Georgia Pacific, Texaco and Unocal.The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.
"Currently, 121 prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists." (What if a medicine you need to live or have a decent quality of life is no longer available because all of the plants which are used to make the medicine no longer exist??)
As stated at this website:
"But who is really to blame? Consider what we industrialized Americans have done to our own homeland. We converted 90 percent of North America's virgin forests into firewood, shingles, furniture, railroad ties, and paper. Other industrialized countries have done no better. Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, and other tropical countries with rainforests are often branded as "environmental villains" of the world, mainly because of their reported levels of destruction of their rainforests. But despite the levels of deforestation, up to 60 percent of their territory is still covered by natural tropical forests. In fact, today, much of the pressures on their remaining rainforests comes from servicing the needs and markets for wood products in industrialized countries that have already depleted their own natural resources. Industrial countries would not be buying rainforest hardwoods and timber had we not cut down our own trees long ago, nor would poachers in the Amazon jungle be slaughtering jaguar, ocelot, caiman, and otter if we did not provide lucrative markets for their skins in Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo."
"The problem and the solution of the destruction of the rainforest are both economic. Governments need money to service their debts, squatters and settlers need money to feed their families, and companies need to make profits. The simple fact is that the rainforest is being destroyed for the income and profits it yields, however fleeting. Money still makes the world go around . . . even in South America and even in the rainforest. But this also means that if landowners, governments, and those living in the rainforest today were given a viable economic reason not to destroy the rainforest, it could and would be saved. And this viable economic alternative does exist, and it is working today. Many organizations have demonstrated that if the medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, oils, and other resources like rubber, chocolate, and chicle (used to make chewing gums) are harvested sustainably, rainforest land has much more economic value today and more long-term income and profits for the future than if just timber is harvested or burned down for cattle or farming operations. In fact, the latest statistics prove that rainforest land converted to cattle operations yields the landowner $60 per acre; if timber is harvested, the land is worth $400 per acre. However, if medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, rubber, chocolate, and other renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the landowner $2,400 per acre. This value provides an income not only today, but year after year - for generations. These sustainable resources - not the trees - are the true wealth of the rainforest."
"The real solution to saving the rainforest is to make its inhabitants see the forest and the trees by creating a consumer demand and consumer markets for these sustainable rainforest products . . . markets that are larger and louder than today's tropical timber market . . . markets that will put as much money in their pockets and government coffers as the timber companies do . . . markets that will give them the economic incentive to protect their sustainable resources for long-term profits, rather than short-term gain."

"This is the only solution that makes a real impact, and it can make a real difference. Each and every person in the United States can take a part in this solution by helping to create this consumer market and demand for sustainable rainforest products. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products and resources and demanding sustainable harvesting of these resources using local communities and indigenous tribes of the rainforests, we all can be part of the solution, and the rainforests of the world and their people can be saved."

"Tropical forests once covered 15-20% of earth's land surface. About half of this is now replaced by cropland, pasture, tree plantations, secondary forest, or wasteland. We are in a race between human destruction and human discovery. Some say we have less than 50 years before we'll hit bottom, with perhaps only 5-10% of tropical forests remaining. The two primary categories of disruption that result from the conversion of tropical rainforests to agricultural land concern nutrient and water cycles."
This statement was found at the following website:
"The cause of deforestation is a very complex subject. A competitive global economy forces the poorer tropical countries the need to raise money. At the national level, the governments of these countries sell logging concessions to raise money for projects, to pay international debt, or to develop industry. Brazil had an international debt of $159 billion in 1995, on which it must make payments each year. Logging companies seek to harvest the forest and make a profit from the sales of valuable hardwoods (such as mahogany) and pulp. 
Because of their basic human need for food, peasant farmers often cause deforestation to raise crops for self-subsistence. Most tropical countries are very poor by U.S. standards, and farming is a basic way of life for a large part of their population. In Brazil, for example, the average annual earnings of a single person in is US $5400, compared to $26,980 per person in the United States (World Bank, 1998). In Bolivia, which holds part of the Amazon rain forest, the average earnings per person is $800. Farmers in these countries do not have the money to buy necessities and must raise crops for food and for sale."

"The deforestation of tropical rain forests is a threat to life worldwide. Deforestation may have profound effects on global climate and cause the extinction of thousands of species annually. Stopping deforestation in the tropics has become an international movement.
Because the loss of rain forests is driven by a complex group of factors, the solutions are equally complex. Simple solutions that do not address the complex nature of world economics and rain forest ecology have little chance of succeeding. The future requires solutions based in solving the economic crises of countries which have extensive rain forests, as well as improving of the living conditions of the poor people often responsible for deforestation." 
It is nice to see one country taking the lead in trying to solve this problem:

"Guyana is working to establish the world's first national low-carbon development strategy that responds to a developing country's economic needs as well as global climate change concerns. Relatively undeveloped, Guyana retains up to 80 percent (162,000 square kilometers) of its original forest cover. That rainforest is part of the Guiana Shield, an area that includes all of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana and parts of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil. These combined forests are the source of 20 percent of the world's freshwater and represent 18 percent of all the carbon dioxide stored in the world's tropical forests. Guyana's new "avoided deforestation" strategy is to evaluate its standing rainforests as assets that can qualify for carbon financing and programs that provide new economic opportunities."
Source: .

Let us hope that the leaders of other countries take serious notice of Guyana's efforts, and implement measures such as these in their own countries!  I can't imagine trying to live on a day to day basis without certain pharmaceutical medications I currently take! I am going to begin to examine my daily behavior closely and try and restrict my use of wood products.I challenge those of you who read this to do the same.Only if we do this collectively,  will this serious problem on the planet be solved.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.