Primate species are in the middle of extinction crisis claims new major study. More than 60 percent of species are under the direct threat of extinction and about 75 percent have populations that are declining. Only 3 out of 4 species have population shrinking. What are the causes of this crisis that facing our relatives? Research results claim habitat loss and illegal hunting.

Deforestation has driven the Sumatran orangutan to the brink of extinction

The journal Science Advances published study conducted by 31 world primate experts. So far, this is the biggest wake-up call for primates scientist says.  Our closest biological relatives live mostly in the tropical rainforests, such the ones in Madagascar, Congo or Brazil. We know 504 species. Most of them are very social and live in groups. They have advanced cognitive abilities like the capability to make a tool or being manipulative.

About 94 percent of the lemur species in the world are endangered, especially in Madagascar, which is one of the hardest-hit places for primate population loss.

Human Factor

The 31 authors of this report, led by Alejandro Estrada of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Paul A. Garber of the University of Illinois, conducted in-depth research of forests in Africa, Asia, South America and other sites considered as most populous with primates.

Unfortunately, we are the culprits for primate vulnerability across the world. Most of their habitations humans convert into farms or ranches. Evan worst, some people hunting them for meat or illegal trade. When we add to that, pollution, gas extraction and climate changes we get the clear picture. Some of these criminal actions of humans are driven by their poverty, and some because of their greed. In any case, political instability, socio-economic imbalance, organized crime, and corruption are the silent killers of primates.

The most threatened species are:

  • Sumatran orangutanbelongs one of two species of an orangutan. Live among the trees of tropical rainforests in Sumatra and feeds with insects and fruits. Thanks to the deforestation they are at the edge of extinction. Their species has only around 14,000 individuals and the number continues to decline.
    Sumatran Orangutan
  • Red Uakari – They live on the South American continent, in the forests upstream of the Amazon River. Uakari eats fruit, nuts, buds and leaves. Hunting and deforestation have put them on the brink of extinction.
    Red Uakari
  • Lemur – they are primates found only on the African island of Madagascar. A lemur is an omnivorous animal but its diet generally consists of a wide variety of fruits. They also eat vegetables, soft barks, nuts, and flowers. The lemur species are the most threatened of all primates and mammals – 94 % of them.
Long tail lemurs


Scientists remind us that the loss of forest as a consequence of dying primates are the loss for us too. ” They help in being carbon stocks to mitigate climate change. They help in providing clean water and providing pollination services for people, so they can grow their crops.” – said Serge Wich from Liverpool John Moores University.

Even though the extinction is a biologically normal phenomenon, we have to reverse things and help our relatives while we can.