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Man And His Methods: The Cause And Solution To Reduction In The Primate Population

1304 words - 6 pages

Man and His Methods: the Cause and Solution to Reduction in the Primate Population

The theory of evolution is taught to students in classrooms all across the world. It states that living beings change through generations and thus separate species are related to one another, some more than others. Acceptance of evolution is sometimes accompanied by the knowledge that humans and chimpanzees share [significantly] more than 50% of their DNA. (Miller et al 2006). Homo sapiens evolved from other primates as the result of countless selection factors and cycles. Scientists Guy Cowlishaw and Robin Dunbar (2002) state that humans have become a selection factor for a variety of life forms that ...view middle of the document...

Trees act as a source of food and shelter for a great amount of these creatures (Chapman and Peres2001). Thus timber extraction, infrasture development and fires can be disastrous for non-humans. Habitat and food losses also create need for migration which can result in territorial aggression (Chapman and Peres 2001) (Wilke et al 2000).
Somewhere between 5 and 6 million ha of tropical rainforests are logged annually to fuel the paper and lumber industries. In Sarawek, Borneo, the removal and/or destruction of 54 percent of trees having diameters greater than 10 centimeters at breast height produced an immediate 35 to 70 percent decline in the gibbons population. Although animal populations can recover when left undisturbed afterwards, it requires more time than even some sustainable logging programs allow (Chapman and Peres 2001).
Some settlers further displace native animals by converting logged and burned forests to farmland, instead of attempting to replace lost biomass. This and the logging industry itself create need for roads for the transportation of goods across long distances. Road development and frontier expansions are a sign of modernity and encourage further commercial land and animal disturbance. They also could potentially trap fragmented micro populations in small spaces where low food supply and inbreeding is a concern (Wilke et al 2000). With the exception of a few species in India, where religious practices offers additional protection, primates do not thrive in densely populated human living spaces. Urban and even developing rural areas are poor habitats for the conservation of animals (Colishaw and Dunbar 2002).
The presence of humans also magnifies the likelihood of forest fires. Millions of ha of forests were destroyed in 1997 and 1998 in southeast Asia and South America. In addition to limiting the plant resource base and foraging habitat and driving animals from their homes, flames kill through heat stress and smoke inhalation (Wilke et al 2000). The process of deforestation and the absence of forests themselves can ruin primate population.
However man can modify the face of one of its a sister species without making visible changes to the forest landscape. In West Africa, monkey flesh, called bush meat, is incredibly popular. In some areas bushmeat is the only rural product profitable to transport by foot. The industry is suspected to provide hunters and merchants with 150 million pounds profit in just a few years in the late early 21st century (Colishaw and Dunbar 2002). 3.8 million primates are consumed yearly in the Brazilian Amazon. While primates are sometimes sold live to be butchered and cooked by the consumer, they are also sold as pets. Great Apes yield particularly high prices. In addition, the desirability of young pets results in targeting infants alongside their mothers, which creates high mortality rate within live trade. In Amazonia, an average of 10 lactating females are sacrificed to capture...

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