Thursday, 1 August 2013

Tanzania primates should be protected by ‘Priority Primate Areas’

First full inventory of primates for Tanzania confirms wealth of rare species and ranks species and sites for conservation attention

July 2013. A five-year study by the Wildlife Conservation Society gives new hope to some of the world's most endangered primates by establishing a roadmap to protect all 27 species in Tanzania - the most primate-diverse country in mainland Africa.

The study combines Tanzania's first-ever inventory of all primate species and their habitats with IUCN Red List criteria and other factors such as threats and rarity, ranking all 27 species from most vulnerable to least vulnerable. The authors then identify a network of "Priority Primate Areas" for conservation.

9 endemic species
A third of Tanzania's primate species are found nowhere else on earth. The study found that the most vulnerable was the kipunji, first discovered by WCS in 2003 on Mt Rungwe and described by WCS as an entirely new genus in 2006. Another extremely vulnerable species is the Zanzibar red colobus, a species whose population is currently being counted by WCS. More common species include the baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and vervets.

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