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October 17, 2012

Well, sort of.

A new study warns that humans are on the verge of extinguishing 25 species of primates:

Twenty-five species of humans’ closest living relatives – apes, monkeys and lemurs – need urgent protection from extinction, a report by international conservation groups said on Monday.

Many of the primates, from the Ecuadorean brown-headed spider monkey to the eastern black-crested gibbon in China and Vietnam, are under threat from human destruction of forests, from hunting and from illegal wildlife trade.

The study said five of the 25 most endangered primates were from Africa, six from the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, nine from Asia, and five from South America, including the Ka’apor capuchin monkey in Brazil.

“Mankind’s closest living relatives … are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures,” said the report by groups including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

What’s striking is the global distribution, and the range of human activities that is threatening these primates. It illustrates how universally damaging human culture has become, and how radical the changes in behavior required to reverse human pressure on fragile species.

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