It becomes a planet of disappearing monkeys.
Save Africa Great Apes: Large African apes could lose between 85% and 94% of their range by 2050, a new study finds.1 Threat to their environment includes climate change, land use, and human encroachment. If those pressures continue, their range will continue to decrease and their chances of survival will also decrease, say, researchers.
With climate change, some of their lower systems become increasingly dry and warm. And low vegetation grows to new heights in the mountains. Animals that depend on those areas should move their range to avoid extinction.1
All major African apes are classified as endangered or endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. 2 Mountain gorillas, bonobos, Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzees, oriental monkeys, and monkeys in the middle are at risk. Grauer gorillas, Cross River gorillas, western western gorillas, and western chimpanzees are at high risk. All are considered to be the best forms of conservation; researchers say.1
Save Africa Great Apes: University of British Columbia environmental researcher Jacqueline Sunderland-Groves is part of an international team that researched how these threats affect African monkey survival. Their research was published in the journal Diversity and Distributions.1
He spoke to Tree hugger about the research and what steps could be taken to help the survival of gorillas; chimpanzees, and other large monkeys.
What is the impetus for your research?
Jacqueline Sunderland-Groves; I spent ten years researching the gorilla on the Critically Endangered Cross River; and the endangered Nigerian and Cameroonian chimpanzee crossing the international border between Nigeria; and Cameroon, understanding its size, distribution, and nature. The Cross River Gorilla is one of the most unknown gorilla species; and has the lowest human population of any large monkey that survives in the wild today. Understanding their nature; where they live and how they survive is important in helping strategies for future conservation.
In collaboration with other scientists and researchers across Africa; I have contributed my great monkey data to this important new study; which is the first to include climate, land use, and population change to predict a specific distribution of African monkeys by 2050. Critical results of how we better plan to ensure the survival of large capable monkeys throughout their African range.
What are the main threats to monkey populations?
In recent history, we have seen a dramatic decline in all monkey populations and habitats. Therefore, all large monkeys are classified as; Threatened Threats or Endangered by the IUCN; and continue to be marginalized and isolated from their range by habitat loss and hunting.
Habitat loss is caused by the extraction of natural resources through commercial logging, mining; deforestation to open up large agricultural fields or other human development activities such as roads and infrastructure, all of which affect a large monkey area. As our activities accelerate the warming of the climate; many low-lying areas are expected to be inhabited by monkeys; and other species, which have a profound effect on the survival of large monkeys in the future.
Why is it so important that they do not lose their distance?
Large monkeys depend on certain areas, especially in various forests, providing all the food and space they need to survive, If those forests disappear, then eventually so do the great apes, But these forests are not only important for large monkeys and other fascinating wildlife species. And they are vital to human health. Healthy forests are about the size of healthy animals and healthy people. None of us can lose our natural forests.
What did your research find most?
Combining climate, land use, and demographic data across today’s large monkey range; the study predicts that under favorable conditions; we can expect an 85% reduction in distance; 50% of which are outside protected areas. To make matters worse, we will see a 94% decrease, of which 61% are outside the protected areas.
That is likely, and if more and more monkeys delete their list in response to global change, we can expect to achieve something significant, but there is no guarantee that they will, Monkeys may not be able to enter these new habitats quickly because of their inaccessible distribution power and migration deficits. It takes a long time for a large number of monkeys to change their size.
Are these changes and losses inevitable?
Most importantly, this study shows that we have time to reduce these predictions. Other losses related to climate change can be avoided if appropriate management measures are taken; and we take real steps to achieve our climate goals. At the same time, if we expand the protected area network in large monkey districts based on areas suitable for them and ensure that we use aging areas to improve than dense rainforests, then we can reduce the predicted losses.
What can conservationists learn from your findings? How can they be used to protect animal habitats?
New programs to save large monkeys must be long-term and use the best science available to guide our efforts. This study shows how we can plan for large monkeys, put our efforts into reducing habitat loss, and extending the current network of protected areas and tunnels to maintain communication. We still have time to rewrite the future with great monkeys, now we just need to make this a reality.