In cooperation with an international team of experts, scientists from the German Primate Center (DPZ) demand immediate measures to protect primates.
Worldwide, around 60 per cent of the 500 known primate species are threatened with extinction. Primates live in tropical and subtropical areas and are mainly found in regions of Africa, South America, Madagascar and Asia. However, the extinction of a species must be considered a global problem.
P1_Large-scale deforestation and habitat fragmentation are major threats for many primate species. Photo: W. F. Laurance
Photo: W. F. Laurance
An international research team that includes two scientists from the German Primate Center - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, evaluated the economic, social, cultural, ecological and scientific importance of primates and the global consequences of species extinctions. They call for a strengthening of awareness and a rethinking of the impending extinction events. In order to protect primates, immediate action must be focused on conservation and sustainability (Science Advances).
Golden snub-nosed monkey, ring-tailed lemur, Javan slow loris, Azara’s night monkey – we still have a large diversity of primates. They are an essential part of tropical biodiversity, contribute to natural regeneration and thus to the functioning of tropical habitats and are an integral part of many cultures and religions. Worldwide, more than half of all primate species are threatened with extinction.
In order to evaluate the role of human-induced threats to primate survival, the researchers combined data from the International Red List of the world nature conservation organization International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with data from the United Nations (UN) database. This enabled the scientists to establish forecasts and development trends for the next 50 years.
For the next 50 years the scientists predict extinction events for many primate species. "Humans increasingly encroach primate habitats and exploit natural resources," explains Christian Roos, a scientist at the German Primate Center (DPZ) and a co-author of the study.
The natural habitat of primates is mostly found in regions with high levels of poverty and a lack of education. These conditions lead to the exploitation of natural resources. Deforestation for agricultural land-use has become widespread. Road networks are built for the transportation and the export of goods. Around 76 per cent of the species have lost large parts of their habitat because of agricultural expansion. Another major threat is illegal hunting and the primate trade. In some regions, up to 90 per cent of species are affected. Immediate action in these regions should be aimed at improving health and providing access to education for the local populations.
In order to preserve the traditional livelihoods that will contribute to food security and environmental protection, sustainable land-use initiatives must be developed. "The lifestyle and the economy in the industrialized countries contribute to the threat for primates. Many of the resources and products such as mineral resources, beef, palm oil and soya that are destroying the habitats of primates are ultimately consumed in industrialized countries," says Eckhard W. Heymann, a scientist at the DPZ and a co-author of the study.
The team of experts calls on government officials, academics, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the business community and citizens to strengthen the awareness of the extinction events and the immediate consequences for humans. "Conservation is an ecological, cultural and social necessity. When our closest relatives, the non-human primates, become extinct, this will send a warning signal that the living conditions for humans will soon deteriorate dramatically," says Heymann.
Estrada, A. et al. (2017): Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: why primates matter. Sci. Adv. 2017;3: e1600946
Contact and suggestion for editors
Prof. Dr. Eckhard W. Heymann
Tel: +49 551 3851-123
Dr. Christian Roos
Tel: +49 551 3851-300
Luzie Almenräder (Communications)
Tel: +49 551 3851-424
Printable pictures are available in our Media library. We kindly request a specimen copy in case of publication.
The German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research conducts biological and biomedical research on and with primates in the fields of infection research, neuroscience and primate biology. The DPZ maintains four field stations in the tropics and is the reference and service center for all aspects of primate research. The DPZ is one of 91 research and infrastructure facilities of the Leibniz Association.
Dr. Susanne Diederich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences