According to Colorado University Boulder professor, human beings have not been doing a good job of taking care of their primate roommates, and now over 60% of them face extinction in the near future.
The study, which was led by Joanna Lambert and published in the journal Science Advances, examined all 504 known primate species.
According to her research, 75% of them are declining in number.
In some species, their numbers are declining so quickly that they may go extinct within the next couple of years.
For example, the Hainan gibbon, a resident in China, now only counts 25 in their ranks.
“Our goal in writing it was to call attention to the fact that most primate species are indeed faced with extinction. We have known about it for a while, and this is a way of getting the word out.”
According to the published article, the primary cause of primates disappearing is all down to human beings.
This is due to agriculture expanding over habitats, cattle ranching, logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, dam building and creating new roads.
Less widespread, but still a concern for primates, include trading them illegally as pets, buying and selling their body parts, bushmeat hunting and diseases.
“What I have been monitoring is what happens to the seeds of the fruit that chimpanzees and various monkey species eat, and how important their role is in forest regeneration, through seed dispersals. As we are losing primates, forests are not regenerating the way they should be.”
She also says that new primate species are constantly being discovered, but because of this, we are unable to understand exactly how many have been lost.
There are possibly many that have come and gone without humans ever knowing.
Many of the issues that contribute to habitat loss are systemic, meaning the issue won’t be resolved until poverty in certain regions is absolved or humans find new energy sources.
Scientists say we need to create global awareness of this issue so humans understand its importance and the huge consequences we face if we do not act.
It is also suggested that if you do not want to contribute to the decline of primate loss, to ensure that you refrain from eating palm oil or purchasing tropical timber.