Guest Article written by Louie Jerome
Primates are amazingly varied, coming in all shapes, sizes and species ranging from one ounce to hundreds of pounds. Many primates have amazingly complex social structures, long evolutionary histories and, unfortunately, many also have harrowing tales of near-extinction in their various microhabitats around the world – often at the hands of the most infamous and far-spread primates: humans.
(images via: ucumari, walt jabsco and youngrobv)
Gorillas are the largest primates in the world. They live on the floor of the forest areas of Africa. These huge creatures can grow up to 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh as much as 450 pounds. And live up to about 50 years. Their DNA is 98%-99% the same as that of human beings and that makes them our second closest relative after the chimpanzee. Their main diet is leaves, fruit and shoots but they also eat insects along with this. Lowland gorillas consume more fruit and mountain gorillas eat more roots and stems due to availability.
(images via: suneko)
The Golden Snub-nosed Monkey is found mostly in the Szechuan region of China and its main diet is lichen although it can adjust to eating other vegetation depending on the season. This monkey spends of its time in the tree tops and is not often seen on the ground. Populations are falling steadily and the biggest threat to the golden snub-nosed monkey is habitat loss caused by encroaching human development.
Woolly Monkeys originated from the rain forests of Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru and there are four known species. This monkey has a prehensile tail which means that it can use its tail to hold onto and hang from things. When it comes to numbers in the wild, these beautiful creatures are on the threatened species list.
They live in groups of up to 45 individuals and subsist on seeds, fruit, nuts and leaves. They are very vocal creatures and have a highly developed hierarchy within their groups. Their main predator is humans who hunt them for the pet trade and for meat.
The Lar Gibbon, also called the White-handed gibbon, is native to China and the Malay Peninsula although it is now though to have disappeared totally from China. The color of the Lar Gibbon varies from light brown to black and they have long hands but no tails.
The natural habitat of the Lar Gibbon in South East Asia is rapidly being destroyed and their numbers are falling accordingly. They are often hunted for meat and parents are slaughtered in order to capture the young for the pet trade.
(images via: mape s, joachim mueller, noel and leo avalon)
Squirrel Monkeys originate from South America. The fur on this small monkey ranges from an olive green color around the shoulder areas through to orange and yellow on its back and arms. They live in large groups of up to five hundred individuals feeding on everything from small insects to fruit.
These monkeys are still found in quite large numbers at the moment even though they are killed for meat and captured for medical research. However, like other primate forest dwellers their environment is shrinking in size as human development encroaches on the forest.
The White Fronted Capuchin is found in central and south America, especially in Paraguay. The monkey gets its name from its white fronted appearance that was said to be like that of the Capuchin monks. They all have ‘black cap’ on their heads and can reach a length of twenty-two inches. Their main predators are falcons, snakes and cats but they are also killed by humans for meat and because they will eat almost anything including fish and shellfish if they get the opportunity. In many areas they are being forced out by civilization.
All these fabulous primates are threatened by human greed for profit (capture for the pet trade and meat) and the ceaseless onslaught of human habitation which is destroying their natural habitats.