Tonight, I’m going to hold a conference to warn about the disappearance of the monkeys.
The monkeys could disappear from the planet in twenty-five to fifty years if nothing is done.
According to a study, 60% of primate species are endangered due to human activities. 75% of the populations are already declining.
A Japanese macaque is taking a bath in a hot spring in the town of Yamanouchi, Japan.
The monkeys are our closest cousins, and yet we watch them die slowly. Worse, we are leading them to their loss, at a pace and scale never equaled. In a study published in Science Advances on Wednesday January 18th, thirty-one international primatologists are drawing an alarming picture: if nothing is done to quickly reduce human pressures on primates and their habitats, we will witness mass extinctions of these emblematic animals within twenty-five to fifty years.
Combining the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the existing scientific literature and United Nations databases, Alejandro Estrada, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and its Colleagues conducted a mega-analysis of the status, threats and conservation efforts of the five hundred and four species of primates in the world, from the powerful gorillas to the fragile lemurs to orangutans, chimpanzees and other bonobos.
The results of this study, the largest ever conducted to date, are instructive: scientists estimate that 60% of monkey species are in danger of extinction due to human activities, and 75% of the populations are already declining . Four out of six great ape species are only one step away from extinction, according to the latest IUCN update in September. These animals that are essential to ecosystems - they contribute to the maintenance and regeneration of forests by dispersing seeds in particular - also play a central role in the culture, traditions and even the economy of the territories they occupy.
Primates, the richest mammal group after rodents and bats, are found in ninety countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. However, two-thirds are concentrated in the heart of only four states: Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the vast majority live in humid tropical forests, monkeys are also living in temperate woodlands, mangroves, savannas, grasslands and even deserts. Everywhere, their lives are in danger: 87% of Madagascar's species are at risk, 73% in Asia, 37% in sub-Saharan Africa and 36% in Latin America.
"This is the eleventh hour for many of these creatures," said Paul Garber, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois (USA), who co-led the study. Several species, such as the ringed tailed lemur, Udzungwa red colobus in Tanzania, brown rhinopithecus or Grauer's gorilla, only counts a few thousand individuals. In the case of the Hainan gibbon in China, there are even fewer than thirty animals. "
They are facing multiple threats, the weight of which has steadily increased over the years, and which often add up. Monkey habitats disappear under the pressure of agriculture (affecting 76% of the species), forestry (60%), livestock (31%), road and railway construction, drilling Oil and gas and mining operations (2% to 13%). In addition, hunting and poaching directly affect 60% of the species. To this must be added the emerging dangers, such as pollution and climate change.
Borneo orangutans are threatened by the production of palm oil.
The Expansion of agriculture, the first threat.
The frantic demand for agricultural products (soybean, palm oil, cane sugar, rice, etc.) and meat has accelerated deforestation in the four corners of the globe, as well as the fragmentation of habitats. Between 1990 and 2010, crops grew by 1.5 million square kilometers (three times the size of France) in areas where primates live, while forest cover declined by 2 million km2.
A fatal evolution to monkeys. The production of palm oil seriously jeopardizes the orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra, which lost 60% of their habitat between 1985 and 2007. The expansion of rubber plantations in southwestern China, has provoked the quasi-extinction of the pale cheek gibbon and the Hainan gibbon. And the future gives little cause for optimism.