Scientists Desperate to Protect World's 25 Most Endangered Primates
LONDON, UK, February 18, 2010 (ENS) - Nearly half the world's 634 primate species - gorillas, orangutans, monkeys, lemurs, gibbons and other primates - now are in danger of becoming extinct due to the destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bushmeat hunting.

Mother and baby Sumatran orangutans in Aceh, Indonesia (Photo by Seb Ruiz)

A report listing the 25 most endangered primates was launched at Bristol Zoo Gardens today, showing that five primate species from Madagascar, six from Africa, 11 from Asia, and three from Central and South America are all in need of the most urgent conservation action.

The report, "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008-2010" has been compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, Species Survival Commission, SSC, and the International Primatological Society, in collaboration with the nonprofit Conservation International.

"The results from the most recent IUCN assessment of the world's mammals indicate that the primates are among the most endangered vertebrate groups," said co-editor 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," Dr. Mittermeier said. "We have the resources to address this crisis, but so far, we have failed to act."

Conservationists want to highlight the plight of primate species in northeastern Vietnam such as the last remaining 110 eastern black crested gibbons and the golden headed langurs found only on the island of Cat Ba in the Gulf of Tonkin, where just 60 to 70 individuals survive.

The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates: 2008-2010, by region: