TECH

Over Half Of The World's Primates Are Now At Risk Of Vanishing Off The Face Of The Earth

Even the slow loris is at risk of extinction.

19/01/2017 13:11 GMT | Updated 19/01/2017 13:12 GMT

More than half of primates, humankind’s closest relatives, are at risk of becoming extinct in the next 25 to 50 years, according to new analysis.

Researchers warned that mining, farming, deforestation, and oil and gas drilling is having a devastating impact on the habitats of our tree-dwelling cousins.

Just 20 to 30 Hainan gibbons remain in China, while Madagascar’s ring-tailed lemur and the Javan slow loris are perilously close to being wiped out.

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A female of the orangutan with a cub in a native habitat.

Each of the 39 ape species, including orangutans, are now threatened with extinction, as well as all Asian lorises, which are regularly poached. 

In total, more than 60 per cent of all primate species are expected to vanish over the next few decades, unless conservation efforts are ramped up.

The study’s authors called for immediate global attention to “reverse the looming risk of primate extinctions”.

“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,” the authors from Conservation International wrote.

As well as playing a key part in the livelihoods, cultures and religions of societies around the world, primates offer “unique insights into human evolution, biology, behaviour and the threat of emerging diseases”, the authors added.