Photos of the world's 25 most endangered primates
In 2017, the Tapanuli orangutan was discovered in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. The rust-colored beauties made headlines for becoming the eighth known species of great ape in the world (including us humans). Their discovery was also notable for being the first great ape species to be described to science since the bonobo was discovered in 1929.
Now, just two years later, the Tapanuli orangutan has been bestowed with a much more grim distinction: A spot in the new report, "Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2018-2020." With fewer than 800 of these new-to-science orangutans left in the wild, it's going to have to be all hands on deck to keep them from slipping away altogether.
Along with the Tapanuli orangutan, another six primate species from Asia made the list, as well as seven species from Africa, five from Madagascar, and six from the Neotropics. Primates include monkeys and apes, as many people know, but also counts lemurs, lorises, galagos, and tarsiers among its ranks.
The report is compiled by the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, the International Primatological Society, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Bristol Zoological Society – it is a shout-out to the primates facing the most dire threats, as well as a call for conservation measures.
“The inclusion of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan on the official list of the world’s most endangered primates is not surprising given the existing threats to its small population, but this underscores a tremendous opportunity,” said Dirck Byler, Global Wildlife Conservation’s great ape conservation director and vice chair for the IUCN SSC’s Primate Specialist Group’s Section on Great Apes. “As the home of the Tapanuli orangutan and two other orangutan species, Indonesia has the chance now to become a leader in great ape conservation by implementing the kinds of measures that will not only protect this special animal and its habitat, but that has the potential to positively impact local economies and livelihoods through ecotourism.”
With 43 percent of the world’s primates classified as critically endangered or endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it's feeling like the time to help them is now.
“This report reveals the bleak prospects of some of the world’s most incredible animals. Despite this, I still have hope that this is not too late,” said Christoph Schwitzer, chief zoological officer at Bristol Zoological Society and IUCN Red List Authority coordinator for the SSC Primate Specialist Group. “There is an unprecedented level of interest in world environmental issues, particularly among the younger generation, many of whom are more inspired, passionate and motivated than ever before to do their part to help make a difference. It is this kind of support, combined with effective conservation action, which is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful and charismatic animals forever.”
I highly recommend reading the report (PDF here) – rather than a big pile of depressing data, it is comprised of fascinating profiles of each of the species, complete with photos and illustrations. Kind of like the world's saddest little animal encyclopedia – but important! And very interesting, and hopefully inspiring.
To help in the mission of bringing awareness to the imperiled stars of the list, here's the who's who:
Bemanasy mouse lemur (Microcebus manitatra)
© Refaly Ernest via Global Wildlife Conservation
Lake Alaotra gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis)
© Ali Smith/Durrell via Global Wildlife Conservation
James’ sportive lemur (Lepilemur jamesorum)
© Naina Rabemananjara via Global Wildlife Conservation
Indri (Indri indri)
© Stacey Tecot via Global Wildlife Conservation
Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
Rondo dwarf galago (Paragalago rondoensis)
© Andrew Perkin via Global Wildlife Conservation
Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus roloway)
© Andrew Gooch via Global Wildlife Conservation
Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)
© Tim Davenport via Global Wildlife Conservation
White-thighed colobus (Colobus vellerosus) pictured & Niger Delta red colobus (Piliocolobus epieni)
© Reiko Matsuda Goodwin via Global Wildlife Conservation
Tana River red colobus (Piliocolobus rufomitratus)
© Stanislaus Kivai via Global Wildlife Conservation
Western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus)
© Liran Samuni & Tai Chimpanzee Project 2 via Global Wildlife Conservation
Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus)
© Aug Aconk via Global Wildlife Conservation
Pig-tailed snub-nose langur (Simias concolor)
© Wendy M. Erb via Global Wildlife Conservation
Golden-headed langur or Cat Ba langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus)
© Neahga Leonard via Global wildlife Conservation
Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)
© Dilip Chetry via Global Wildlife Conservation
Purple-faced langur (Semnopithecus vetulus)
© Rasanayagam Rudran via Global Wildlife Conservation
Gaoligong hoolock gibbon (Hoolock tianxing)
© Fan Pengfei via Global Wildlife Conservation
Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis)
© A Tapanuli orangutan. (Maxime Aliaga via Global Wildlife Conservation)
Buffy-tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix aurita)
© Christoph Knogge via Global Wildlife Conseravtion
Pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor)
© Diogo Lagroteria via Global Wildlife Conservation
Ecuadorian white-fronted capuchin (Cebus aequatorialis)
© Olivia Crowe via Global Wildlife Conservation
Olalla Brothers’ titi monkey (Plecturocebus olallae)
© Jesus Martinez via Global Wildlife Conservation
Brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba)
© Gerson Buss via Global Wildlife Conservation
Central American spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)
© Grace Davis via Global Wildlife Conservation
Aren't they amazing? And a reminder; it's not just these 25 who are risk. As Karen Strier, president of the International Primatological Society and Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says:
“This report helps us to focus on the plight of ALL primates whose futures are in danger. There is still time to take actions to save the most critically endangered primates from extinction and to protect other species from the increasing risks posed by human activities and global climate change."
"Their problems are our problems," she adds, "insuring their survival increases our own chances as well.”
Tapanuli orangutan makes IUCN SSC list of world's most endangered primates
By Dyaning Pangestika - The Jakarta Post - 11. October 2019
Pushed by the aggressive encroachment of forests, Indonesia’s endemic great ape, the Tapanuli orangutan, is officially among the world’s most endangered primates as fewer than 800 currently exist in the wild.
The species was included in a report titled “Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2018-2020” released on Monday, which cited ongoing forest conversions and increasing human-orangutan interactions as the main factors that place the arboreal mammals in danger.
Global Wildlife Conservation’s great ape conservation director Dirck Byler said he was not surprised by the Tapanuli orangutan’s inclusion in the report because of the many threats to its small population.
“As the home of the Tapanuli orangutan and two other orangutan species, Indonesia has the chance now to become a leader in great ape conservation by implementing the kinds of measures that will not only protect this special animal and its habitat, but that has the potential to positively impact local economies and livelihoods through ecotourism,” Byler said in a statement.
He also called for all stakeholders, namely lawmakers, conservationists, indigenous people and community members, to take part in protection efforts for the great ape.
The report itself is a collaborative work between the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) Primate Specialist Group, the International Primatological Society, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Bristol Zoological Society. It features the 25 most endangered primates from four regions – namely Africa, Madagascar, Asia and the Neotropics – that are most in need of conservation action.
The Tapanuli orangutan was first discovered in 2017, according to a study conducted by a group of international researchers published in Current Biology in the same year. The study revealed that Tapanuli orangutans are a distinct species with smaller skulls and frizzier hair than the two previously recognized Sumatran orangutan and Bornean orangutan.
Tapanuli orangutans live in fragmented locations in the 133,841 hectares of mountainous areas in the Batang Toru ecosystem, south of the famous Lake Toba in North Sumatra.
Besides Tapanuli orangutans, seven other primate species made the list, including the Skywalker hoolock gibbon in China and Myanmar, the Bemanasy mouse lemur in Madagascar, and pied tamarin in Brazil.