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18: Appendix B - Primate Conservation

  • Page ID
    199822
    • Mary P. Dinsmore, Ilianna E. Anise, Rebekah J. Ellis, Jacob B. Kraus, & Karen B. Strier

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    Learning Objectives

    • Describe the current conservation status of the world’s primates and the criteria that researchers and conservationists use to make these assessments.
    • Recognize the many threats that negatively impact primate survival.
    • Identify how these threats uniquely affect primates because of characteristics like slow growth rates, long interbirth intervals, strong social bonds, and cultural behavior.
    • Distinguish the many ways in which primates are significant to ecological processes, our understanding of human evolution, human cultures, and local economies.
    • Illustrate the ways that people, wherever they may live, can work to protect primates.

    We are field primatologists interested in understanding nonhuman primates (henceforth, simply “primates”) in their natural environments and in contributing to their conservation. Our research has focused on a diversity of primate species that occur in a wide range of habitats throughout the tropics; however, these species and their habitats are subject to many similar threats. As human populations continue to grow (Figure B.1), primates are being pushed out of their natural home ranges and forced to occupy increasingly smaller and more isolated patches of land. Humans and primates are sharing more spaces with one another, making it easier for primates to be hunted or captured and for diseases to spread from humans to primates (and vice versa). Even when primates are not directly threatened by human activities, human-induced climate change is altering local ecosystems at an alarming rate. Local political instability exacerbates all of these problems. Our research has caused us to think about these issues on a daily basis, both in the field and at home. Understanding how these threats affect the primates we have studied is a very important part of what we do. Ultimately, the research of field primatologists is important for documenting the status of wild primate populations and for understanding how primates respond to these threats in order to gain insight into efforts that can help improve their chances of survival in an uncertain future.

    Global population by region, with projection of 11 billion by 2100.
    Figure B1: Caption: World population growth by region. Global populations are projected to approach 11 billion people by 2100 (UN Population Division 2019). Credit: World population by region by Our World in Data [Source Gapminder (v6), HYDE (v3.2) & UN (2019)] accessed June 6, 2022 is used under a CC BY 4.0 License. [Image Description]

    This appendix begins with a review of the current status of primates and the criteria used in these assessments. We then describe the major threats to primates, explain why primates are important, and consider what can be done to improve their chances of survival. We conclude with a brief consideration of the future for primates.

    Thumbnail: A female gelada (Theropithecus gelada) with a snare around its neck in central Ethiopia. Many rural hunters rely on snare traps, which are easier to construct and more affordable than firearms and can be equally lethal (Noss 1998; Tumusiime et al. 2010). Credit: A female gelada (Theropithecus gelada) with a snare around its neck in central Ethiopia by Kadie Callingham is used by permission and available here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    This chapter is a revision from “Appendix B: Primate Conservation” by Mary P. Dinsmore, Ilianna E. Anise, Rebekah J. Ellis, Amanda J. Hardie, Jacob B. Kraus, and Karen B. Strier. In Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology, first edition, edited by Beth Shook, Katie Nelson, Kelsie Aguilera, and Lara Braff, which is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.


    This page titled 18: Appendix B - Primate Conservation is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mary P. Dinsmore, Ilianna E. Anise, Rebekah J. Ellis, Jacob B. Kraus, Karen B. Strier, & Karen B. Strier (Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.