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Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates : why primates matter.

Estrada, Alejandro and Garber, Paul A. and Rylands, Anthony B. and Roos, Christian and Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo and Di Fiore, Anthony and Nekaris, K. Anne-Isola and Nijman, Vincent and Heymann, Eckhard W. and Lambert, Joanna E. and Rovero, Francesco and Barelli, Claudia and Setchell, Joanna M. and Gillespie, Thomas R. and Mittermeier, Russell A. and Arregoitia, Luis Verde and de Guinea, Miguel and Gouveia, Sidney and Dobrovolski, Ricardo and Shanee, Sam and Shanee, Noga and Boyle, Sarah A. and Fuentes, Agustin and MacKinnon, Katherine C. and Amato, Katherine R. and Meyer, Andreas L. S. and Wich, Serge and Sussman, Robert W. and Pan, Ruliang and Kone, Inza and Li, Baoguo (2017) 'Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates : why primates matter.', Science Advances, 3 (1). e1600946.


Nonhuman primates, our closest biological relatives, play important roles in the livelihoods, cultures, and religions of many societies and offer unique insights into human evolution, biology, behavior, and the threat of emerging diseases. They are an essential component of tropical biodiversity, contributing to forest regeneration and ecosystem health. Current information shows the existence of 504 species in 79 genera distributed in the Neotropics, mainland Africa, Madagascar, and Asia. Alarmingly, ~60% of primate species are now threatened with extinction and ~75% have declining populations. This situation is the result of escalating anthropogenic pressures on primates and their habitats—mainly global and local market demands, leading to extensive habitat loss through the expansion of industrial agriculture, large-scale cattle ranching, logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, dam building, and the construction of new road networks in primate range regions. Other important drivers are increased bushmeat hunting and the illegal trade of primates as pets and primate body parts, along with emerging threats, such as climate change and anthroponotic diseases. Often, these pressures act in synergy, exacerbating primate population declines. Given that primate range regions overlap extensively with a large, and rapidly growing, human population characterized by high levels of poverty, global attention is needed immediately to reverse the looming risk of primate extinctions and to attend to local human needs in sustainable ways. Raising global scientific and public awareness of the plight of the world’s primates and the costs of their loss to ecosystem health and human society is imperative.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
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Publisher statement:Copyright © 2017, The Authors This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:22 November 2016
Date deposited:10 February 2017
Date of first online publication:18 January 2017
Date first made open access:10 February 2017

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