Half of world's primate species endangered, report says
Added: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:00:00 UTC
(CNN) - Nearly half the world's primate species are in danger of extinction, according to a report released Wednesday by a major conservation group.
The main threat facing primates -- including apes, monkeys, and lemurs -- is tropical forest destruction, with the illegal wildlife trade and commercial bush meat hunting also playing roles.
Scientists say primates are humankind's closest animal relatives.
Of the world's 634 primate species, 48 percent are threatened with extinction, according to the report, issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Switzerland-based group calls itself the world's oldest global environmental organization.
"This report makes for very alarming reading," said Christoph Schwitzer, an adviser to the group, in a statement. "Support and action to help save these species is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful animals forever."
A handful of primate species count populations in the dozens. For example, there are just 60 to 70 Asian monkeys known as golden headed langurs, found only on an island in Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin.
Dave Mosher - National Geographic Comments
The sun is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured, astronomers say.
Geraint Jones - The Guardian Comments
Scientists who encoded the book say it could soon be cheaper to store information in DNA than in conventional digital devices
Ed Yong - Nature News Comments
Under the supervision of guards and graduate students, a small group of prisoners is breeding the beautiful orange-and-white insects in a greenhouse outside the prison. They have even carried out research to show what plants the butterfly prefers to lay its eggs on.
- - Scientific American Comments
Teachers, scientists and policymakers have drafted ambitious new education standards. All 50 states should adopt them
John Roach - NBC News Comments
An artificial “brain” built by a 17-year-old whiz kid from Florida is able to accurately assess tissue samples for signs of breast cancer, providing more confidence to a minimally invasive procedure.