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China’s primates could disappear by end of this century, study warns

terça, 25 setembro 2018 14:49 General News
Northern white-cheeked gibbon in Planckendael Zoo, Belgium. Northern white-cheeked gibbon in Planckendael Zoo, Belgium. Image by Ad Meskens via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

China’s primates could disappear by end of this century, study warns

25 September 2018


  • China has some 25 species of primates, of which 15 to 18 have fewer than 3,000 individuals surviving in the wild, according to a new study.
  • Two species of gibbons have become extinct in China in just the past two decades, while two other species of gibbons have fewer than 30 individuals in the country.
  • Researchers warn that primate distributions in China could shrink by 51 percent to 87 percent by the end of this century.
  • Expanding suitable habitat for primates is critical, the researchers say, as is prioritizing a network of protected corridors that can connect isolated primate subpopulations.

Most primates in China could be wiped out by the end of this century, a new study warns.

China is the second-most primate-rich country in Asia, with 25 known species of non-human primates, including lorises, macaques, langurs, snub-nosed monkeys, and gibbons. Since the 1950s, though, primate populations have declined drastically, largely due to clearing of large tracts of forests for farmland and plantations; industry; roads, railways and other infrastructure; and urbanization. In this rapidly changing landscape, China’s primates are struggling to survive.

Paul Garber, a primatologist at the University of Illinois, said in a statement that non-human primates represented our closest living relatives and played “an important role in maintaining the health of tropical forest ecosystems and serve as models for understanding human evolution, health, behaviour, biology, cognition, and sociality.”

“China is facing a historic moment and has one final opportunity to balance economic growth and environmental sustainability, or face the unprecedented loss of animal and plant biodiversity,” he added.


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