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China’s primates could disappear by end of this century, study warns

25 / 09 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

Most primates in China could be wiped out by the end of this century, a new study warns. China is the second-most primate-rich country in Asia, with 25 known species of non-human primates, including lorises, macaques, langurs, snub-nosed monkeys, and gibbons. Since the 1950s, though, primate populations have declined drastically, largely due to clearing of large tracts of forests for farmland and plantations; industry; roads, railways and other infrastructure; and urbanization. In this rapidly changing landscape, China’s primates are struggling to survive. Some 80 percent of China’s primates are currently listed as threatened (either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered) on the IUCN Red List, researchers report in the study in Biodiversity and Conservation, which reviewed the status of China’s primates. Of the 25 primate species, 15 to 18 have fewer than 3,000 individuals surviving in the wild. Two species of gibbons, the northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) and the white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar yunnanensis), have disappeared from China in just the past two decades. While the two gibbon species are present in other parts of Asia, their status is dire: they are listed as endangered (white-handed gibbon) or critically endangered (northern white-cheeked gibbon) on the IUCN Red List. “Such gloomy profiles actually did not surprise me — given I grew up in the countryside of China, engaged with zoology of the region for years and witnessed the procedures of environment damages,” co-author Ruliang Pan, an adjunct senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia, told Mongabay in an email. “My biggest concern, perhaps…

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