On the 9th July 2020 the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) released a news article about the completed revision of African primate’s assessments and their conservation status. This sadly included the news that almost a third of lemur species are now critically endangered and on the cusp of becoming extinct.

Lemurs are only found on the island of Madagascar, which is about 400 kilometres off the east coast of Africa. The island is around 592,800 square kilometres and has a human population of over 26 million. According to Wikipedia “90% of all plant and animal species found on Madagascar are endemic”. This means that they are found nowhere else on earth.

With a growing human population this means more land is needed for growing crops, raising livestock and developments for homes. This in turn means deforestation and pollution of the landscape of Madagascar, destroying the natural habitats of many species.

Searching on the IUCN Red List for Lemur species and seeing that nearly all species have a decreasing trend for their populations is very disheartening. If you want to do your own research and reading the website for the IUCN Red List can be found here www.iucnredlist.org

So what’s happening with other African primate species, well that’s not great reading either.

It is estimated that over 50% of African primate species are now under threat from extinction.

Between Wingham & Sandwich Wildlife Parks we care for 9 African primate species:

Western Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes verus

Primate conservation news. Chimpanzee at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

MandrillsMandrillus sphinx

Primate conservation news. Mandrill at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Barbary MacaquesMacaca Sylvanus

Primate conservation news. Barbary Macaque at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Vervet MonkeysChlorocebus pygerythrus

Vervet monkey at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Eastern Black & White ColobusColobus guereza

Black and White Colobus at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Black Crested MangabeysLophocebus aterrimus

Primate conservation news. Black Crested Mangabey at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Ringtailed LemursLemur catta

Primate conservation news. Ring-tailed lemurs at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Red Ruffed Lemur – Varecia rubra

Primate conservation news. Red Ruffed Lemur at Sandwich Wildlife Park, Kent

Senegal Bushbaby – Galago senegalensis

Senegal Bush Babies at Sandwich Wildlife Park, Kent

The news, according to the IUCN Red List, is that all of the African primate species that we care for are now facing decreasing populations in the wild. This is due to deforestation and human hunting of these species.

What can you do to help?

Here at Wingham Wildlife Park, our charity Wingham Widlife Park Animal Welfare (WWPAW), supports a number of conservation projects. The main project we support is the Population Sustainability Network.

This project aims to help local communities around the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with family planning and health care so that they can live more harmoniously with the wildlife on their doorstep. To find out more information and how you can help please click here.

About Ruth - Head Keeper

Ruth is the head keeper at Wingham Wildlife Park, having been with the park since 2008. When the park was first taken over all of the keepers looked after all of the species, and as such Ruth has a wide range of abilities with the animals here, giving her the right skill set as our head keeper. When she is out of the office (which is most of the time), she specialises in primates.