Director's Report - 2001
In 2001 PCI enters its 8th year providing grants to
help study and protect the least known and most endangered primates. As
Director, I would like to highlight some of the researchers, their projects, and
conservation efforts. Although a majority of our grants are given to beginning
graduate students, several of these students have finished their Ph.D. programs
and are thus referred by the title they have earned.
Conservation is a long-term commitment. What these
endangered primates most need is funding to provide extended support for ongoing
projects that are their best hope for the survival. A commitment of 5 to 10
thousand dollars per year for 10 years would assure that conservation efforts
would continue long enough to establish themselves. Though PCI has an important
niche of getting researchers into the field to begin their work, we really feel
the need to be able to help some projects over an extended period of time to
provide effective conservation.
Until November of this year the Tonkin snub nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus
avunculus (first documented photographically by a Vietnamese and American
survey in 1992) was thought to remain in only in two tiny forests comprising the Na Hang Nature Reserve in the far
North of Viet Nam. But this year researchers who have received past support from
PCI confirmed a second population in another remnant forest about 50 miles away
from Na Hang. Conservation efforts are currently expanding and this discovery
gives the Tonkin monkey a little more hope of survival. However, threats
continue. Hunting is still widely practiced and development schemes, including
roads and a dam are planned in the area near the reserve.
One of PCI’s first grants was to Lois Lippold Ph.D.
for one of the first surveys for douc langurs in Viet Nam by a Western
primatologist since the wars end. In the eight years since that grant was given,
a new subspecies of douc langur Pygathrix
nemaeus cincerus was found, described and is the subject of an ongoing
conservation project by Dr. Lippold and Vietnamese researcher Vu Noc Thanh.
Sharon Gursky Ph.D. watched spectraltarsiers mob the python, joining together,
lunging and retreating at a snake much larger than themselves. Mobbing was only
one of the surprising behaviors Dr. Gursky, an early PCI grant recipient,
observed as she followed tarsiers through the night to report their behavior. Once thought to be indifferent
parents who left their infants alone for extended periods of time, Dr. Gursky
found that tarsiers instead cache their infants nearby while they forage for
insects and small vertebrates.
In another PCI supported project with tarsiers, Myron
Shekelle began a genetic study to assist in the identification of new taxa.
Results are expected in 2001. It will be exciting to learn what has been found
by Myron and his colleagues about these faunivorous primates.
For the first time wild orangutans have been observed
using tools. Beth Fox's grant to study orangutans in a lowland swamp in Sumatra
helped to documented these intelligent apes using sticks to both feed on social
insects that have hidden nests in tree holes and to extract the meat from very
hard shelled fruits.
PCI is proud to have helped Lisa Paculli begin and continue her long-term
study and conservation project on the pig tailed langur Simias
concolor in the Mentawai Islands off the island of Sumatra. As a result of
her work with the government, illegal logging was halted in 1998 and a 600
hectare protected area was established. She was the subject of a recent article
in International Wildlife magazine
(June, 2000) which shows the destruction caused by logging this forest.
Prevented by local authorities from radio collaring
the slender lorises in her study, dedicated PCI grantee Kimberly Nekaris
followed these small, elusive and nocturnal primates with a flash light on their
nightly rounds. One of two projects in Southern India supported by PCI to study
two different loris subspecies, Kimberly found that slender lorises were not as
solitary as previously presumed but are more social, often resting in close
proximity to one other and sleeping together during the day among dense
Primates in India have been the subject of several other grants including an
early PCI effort assisting the study of the ecology of lion tailed macaques by
R. Kishnamurthi and a recent conservation project on golden langurs by Jihosus Biswas and Dilip Chetry to document
how a 18 year reforestation project effects the ability of these endangered
langurs to survive.
In 1992 it was very difficult to find the extremely
rare bamboo lemurs in Ranamafana National Park but by 1998 guides could take you
to whichever species you wanted to observe. This would never have happened
without the work of Chia Tan and other dedicated researchers and field
assistants that habituated these primates to humans. They followed these lemurs
from sunup to sunset, upslope and down, often through wet forest. Chia’s
three-year study of the three bamboo lemurs in the Park has shown how three
closely related species of different sizes share the same habitat. Though they
all eat bamboo, they each concentrate on different bamboo species.
bamboo lemur eating giant bamboo
The bamboo lemur study groups have become one of the
main tourist attractions in the park. This helps conserve wildlife by bringing
much needed cash to the park and the local community.
Only a year after PCI supported Malagasy native and
Ph.D. candidate Jonah Ratsimbazafy began his research in Manombo Reserve, this
rare remnant lowland rain forest on southern Madagascar’s east coast was hit
by one of the worst cyclones ever seen in the area. The winds were so strong
that more than 80% of forest canopy was blown down. Jonah study
Jonah (second from the left) at Manombo
includes observations to determine if lemurs, especially the black and white
lemur Varecia variegata variegata can
adapt to large scale natural habitat alteration. To date Varecia have only been found in pristine primary forest, because
they rely on large fruit bearing trees, this study may well tell us if an
endangered species living in a fairly large remnant forest can survive a single
Humans have reduced the populations of many primates
and forced them into ever smaller patches of forest where they become very
susceptible to being wiped out by random natural events, introduced diseases,
human hunting and other calamities. Whereas a larger population with a bigger
intact forest could probably survive these problems.
PCI provided partial funding for studies of two
subspecies of diadem sifaka. The all black sifaka Propithecus diadema perrieri, lives in the far North of Madagascar.
The all white silky sifaka P.d. candidus, lives
in the mountains of the Northeast. It is possible they are valid species not
subspecies. PCI supported researcher Mireya Major will collect DNA samples of
all the diadema subspecies to
investigate their degree of genetic similarity.
Madagascar is the only home of lemurs. Little is
known about many lemur species and subspecies. Little time is left to study
these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat because of the rapid
destruction of Madagascar’s forests and wildlife. This is due to an increasing
human population and widespeard poverty.
Central and South
Although PCI gives preference to projects in West
Africa and Asia, support has been provided to research and conservation efforts
in the Neotropics. In Bolivia Leila Porter studied Goeldi’s marmoset Calimico
goeldi and found that they eat a great deal of fungus during the dry season
when other food is scarce. PCI funded her first project in 1997. Through her
efforts her study site will become part of a new protected area, conserving this
and thousands of other rain forest species.
Two recent projects in Brazil are still underway. One
by Milene Martins is on the largest primate in South America the muriqui Brachyteles
arachnoides and the other by Beatrix Perez-Sweeney is a study of the
diminutive and critically endangered black lion tamarin Leontopitecus
When Kristin Seix began her research in 1996 to study
the Zanzibar red colobus Procolobus
pennanti kirki she found this endangered primate was being killed by cars
speeding through the park. Documenting the fatalities in her reports to the
local authorities, she continued her conservation efforts until last year when
an agreement was reached with the local community to place speed bumps in the
road at the most common accident sites. Since these bumps were installed red
colobus roadkills have decreased by 78-93%.
PCI helped fund the first comparative study of the
two genuses Cercocebus and Lophocebus
in the same forest. These two species were thought to be closely related and
were included in one genus until 10
years ago. The gray cheeked managbey Lophoocebus
albigena lives in the trees in small groups where as the agile mangabey Cercocebus agilis spends
most of its time in a large troop on the ground. After almost three years of
data collection Natasha Shah will soon publish her results which will help us to
understand the ecological needs of these species.
In 1998 Rebecca Stump et. al. published a museum
study of the skulls of gorillas found in Eastern Nigeria and Western Cameroon.
They were found to be different enough from others to be declared a new
subspecies, Gorilla gorilla dehlia.
Kelly McFarland conducted the first study of this endangered population
numbering approximately 200 individuals. PCI also funded Nigerian citizen Ernest
Nwofoh to continue monitoring these gorillas and supported a DNA study to be
conducted by Richard Beryl to determine how closely these gorillas are related
to other members of their species. Without the efforts of these and other
dedicated conservationist including Dr. John Oates, this population could have
disappeared before we even knew it was different.
Ludwig Werre did an ecological study of a subspecies of red colobus in
the Niger Delta. This taxon was only discovered and described in the 1990’s.
He has helped establish a community based protected area for this species.
The last hopes of finding Miss Waldron’s red
colobus Procolobus badius waldroni
faded for Scott McGraw and Michael Abeti Lartey as they observed the litter of
shotgun shells through the lowland swamp, a supposedly protected area where this
loud and gregarious monkey was rumored to still survive. This, the last of four
successive surveys which PCI helped fund, ended the search for Miss Waldron’s
red colobus, as each forest fragment within its range was found empty. Colobus
are often the first to be shot out of the trees and thrown on a truck for the
market in towns and cities as bushmeat. An article in the New York Times announced its end
September 12th. It is the first primate to be declared extinct in the new
Drawing of Miss Waldroni’s Colobus by
There is still hope for
other endangered primate species and we must not let another one go extinct.
With your support PCI will be able to continue to provide funds for
conservationists and researchers dedicated to studying and protecting the least
known and most endangered primates.
If gorillas exist in
Northeastern Congo, they are 300 hundred of miles between the known range of the
Western lowland gorilla G. g. gorilla
and the Eastern lowland gorilla G.
beringei graueri. PCI’s most recent action fund grant is for a survey of
this area. If they are found there they may even be a subspecies new to science.
This has happened once it could happen again with your support. There is so much
more to learn about primates and we must use this knowledge to protect them.
PCI is an all-volunteer, tax
deductible private operating 501 (c) (3) foundation. Since our first grant in
1993 we have supported with full or partial or renewal funding 135 projects in
24 countries with primate habitats. Projects in Asia have received 40% of our
funding, African projects 32%, Madagascar 22%, and South America 6%. Grants have
gone to study leaf monkeys (24%), apes (23%), lemurs (22%), cheek pouch monkeys
(15%), prosimians (6%), new world monkeys (6%) and tarsiers (4%).
In order to keep our
overhead to a minimum, so that as much of the money raised is used to support
field conservation projects, we only send one newsletter per year. This is our
annual appeal for your donations. You will not receive other mail from us nor
will we share your name with others. We appreciate your support.
If you would like to
contribute cash, stock or real estate to PCI or would like more information on a
specific project please contact me at the address below.
The first ever photograph of a
wild grey shanked Douc Langur
Photo by Vu Noc Than who is a
Vietnamese researcher and
professor at Hanoi
Director's Report - 2000
The mission of Primate Conservation Inc. is to give grants for
research and conservation of the least known and most endangered primates. We are proud
to be helping individuals who are doing the difficult work in the field studying and
protecting these species.
The January 17, 2000 edition of “Time Magazine” reported on Primates on the Brink; the
top 25 most endangered primates.” The article originated from the chairman of the IUCN
Species Survival Commission, Primate Specialist Group, Dr. Russell Mittermeier . The
article had a picture of each endangered taxa along with a short description of where
it occurs. Though PCI is a small organization, in its seven years of operation it
has helped to fund research and conservation projects on over half of these 25 species.
We couldn’t have done it without the support of our generous donors. We salute them
for helping to make a difference and hope they will continue their support.
World's Top 25
Most Endangered Primates
PCI has funded projects studying and protecting the species highlighted in bold type.
1. Golden bamboo lemur Hapalemur aureus
2. Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur Hapalemur griseus alotrensis
3. Perrier's sifaka Propithecus diadema perrieri
4. Silky sifaka Propithecus diadema candidus
5.. Golden-crowned sifaka Propithecus tattersalli
6. Black lion tamarin Leontopithecus chrysopygus Brazil
7. Golden lion tamarin Leontopithecus rosalia Brazil
8.. Black-faced lion tamarin Leontopithecus caissara Brazil
9. Buff-headed capuchin Cebus xanthosternos Brazil
10. Yellow-tailed woolly monkey Lagothrix flavicauda Peru
11. Northern muriqui Brachyteles hypoxanthus Brazil
12. Miss Waldron's red colobus Procolobus badius waldroni Ghana and Ivory Coast
13. Sclater's guenon Ceropithecus sclateri Nigeria
14. Sanje mangabey Cerocebus sanje Tanzania
15. White-naped mangabey Cerocebus atys lunulatus Ghana and Ivory Coast
16. Drill Mandrillus leucophaeus Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria\
17. Cross River gorilla Gorilla gorilla diehli Nigeria 18. Mountain gorilla Gorilla gorilla beringei Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda
19. Gray-shanked douc langur Pygathrix cinerea Vietnam
20. Cat Ba Island golden-headed langur Trachypithecus poliocephalus Vietnam
21. Delacour's langur Trachypithecus delacouri Vietnam
22. Tonkin snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus avunculus Found in: Vietnam
23. Hainan gibbon Hylobates concolor hainanus Vietnam and China
24. Javan gibbon Hylobates moloch Indonesia
25. Sumatran orangutan Pongo abelii Indonesia
REPORT OF PRIMATES SURVEYS IN
By Dr. Shawn M. Lehman
Department of Anthropology SUNY-Stony Brook &
Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments
With generous support from Primate Conservation, Inc. I conducted some of the first primate surveys in a large forest corridor from October 1999 to March 2000 in eastern Madagascar. This forest corridor is located in a chain of mountains and steep valleys approximately 120 kilometers SE of the capitol of Antananarivo. This corridor represents some of the last unexplored rain forest in eastern Madagascar.
My team was composed of Malagasy biologists and local people. Our first observations were of the forest destruction as the result of slash and burn agriculture, known locally as tavy. The destruction in the corridor mirrored that seen for much of the island: approximately 85-90% of the forest had been burned and cleared for agriculture. The tavy was on steep mountainous slopes, many of which exceeded 45 degrees.
Amazingly, despite the incredible rates of deforestation, we were able to find patches of undisturbed forest along the mountaintops and in some of the more remote valleys. At the northernmost sites, it became readily apparent that the lemur populations had been seriously affected by trapping and hunting. Snare traps were abundant around the site.
We then moved further south into less disturbed forest habitats. Our efforts were rewarded with sightings of red bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubiventrer), a few black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata), sportive lemurs (Lepilemur mustelinus), mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus), greater dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus major), and common brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus fulvus). We were very excited to see common brown lemurs because they were thought to be restricted to forests far north of the corridor. There was also ample evidence of feeding by bamboo lemurs
(Hapalemur griseus griseus) in bamboo patches and by the rare and elusive aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) on dead tree stumps. Perhaps our most exciting finding was of two groups of what may be a hybrid form of common
brown lemur and red-fronted brown lemur (E. f. rufus). Hybrids form when two subspecies meet and interbreed, producing a creature that differs in appearance from the parent forms. One can then imagine the fascinating effects that hybrids have on such things as mate selection and reproductive success. The specific status of these hybrid forms cannot be ascertained until detailed genetic and ecological studies are conducted. We were surprised and disappointed that Milne-Edward's sifakas (Propithecus diadema edwardsi) were neither seen nor heard during our surveys. Although local people reported that these large, black lemurs were abundant, they also admitted to systematically hunting the sifakas with blowguns. Local people described using the large white patch on the animal's back as a target for darts fired from blowguns. Therefore, it seems likely that the conservation status of Milne-Edward's sifakas is far more precarious than we had previously imagined.
Plans are currently underway to protect some part of the forest corridor as a reserve or, perhaps, a new national park. Management plans for the new protected area will include education on forest conservation and training in modern agricultural techniques.
If you would like to donate to PCI to help one of the projects like this one, please contact me at the address below. We have moved our office to Charlestown, Rhode Island. You can also visit us on the world wide web at www.primate.org and find out about how you can get a copy of The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates for a donation to
Email reports from the field in May and June 2000! A survey for the silky
sifaka in Madagascar by PCI supported researchers, Dr. Patricia Wright and
Mireya West www.pbs.org./nova/madagascar
Read about the trials of a field conservation and research project in the
July/August edition of International Wildlife Magazine. "They're logging
your rain forest!" by Lisa Paciulli. She is a PCI grantee, who works in the
Menatawi Islands located off Sumatra in Indonesia, studying the endangered
Simbakou or pig-tailed langur. To get a cpy dial 703 790 4100
Red shanked Douc Languar
Photo by N. Rowe
Director's Report - 1998
This summer PCI will celebrate our fifth year of giving
support to research and conservation projects on the least know and most endangered
primates. To date we have awarded funding to 75 projects in 23 different countries. Over
86% of our budget goes directly to field projects in habitat countries. Projects in Asia
have received 42% of our funding, African projects 27%, Madagascar 25%, and South America
6%. Our grants have gone to study monkeys (43%), apes (22%), lemurs (19%), lorises
(6%),and tarsiers (5%). We couldn't have done this without generous contributions. Thank
you for helping us assist primate researchers in their important work. They are some of
the hardest working people I know. Without their dedication under difficult physical
conditions some of these endangered primates will be lost. We must do all we can to
prevent the extinction of primate taxa. Please continue to give generously.
Selected Reports from the Field:
Perhaps the saddest news we have to
report is that both the Ivory Coast survey by Scott McGraw and the Ghana survey by Michael
Abedi-Lartey for Miss Waldron's red colobus were unable to locate a single individual of
this subspecies of red colobus which is known only from this region. Although it is not
possible to say with certainty that this is the first primate taxon to disappear this
century, the likelihood of finding this taxon seems to diminish with time. Even the local
hunters interviewed had not encountered it recently. Though the forests where it thrived
10 years ago are degraded, they are still intact. Overhunting for the commercial bushmeat
trade has taken a heavy toll on the mammalian inhabitants of these forests and throughout
much of Western and Central Africa.
Kelley (right) with her field research team and camp staff.
Photo by J. Oates
Kelley McFarland is studying
gorillas in Nigeria. This isolated population is found in the most western and northern
part of the range of lowland gorillas. Kelly is currently studying the diet of these wary
gorilla by following their trails, and by analyzing fecal samples. She is also collecting
hair samples from nests for genetic analysis. There is recent evidence from skull
measurements that this gorilla population may have been isolated for a long time. DNA
studies of its hair may help substantiate the hypothesis that this is a fourth subspecies
of gorilla. These gorillas are threatened by local hunters who kill gorillas, smoke the
meat, and sell it. Kelly, who's project partially funded by PCI in 1996, has managed to
stop the poaching for the 2 years. She has asked PCI for a renewal grant to continue her
research and conservation work into 1999. If you would like to help sponsor her project
please call the director.
Katie Gonder has been studying the
chimpanzees that inhabit Gashaka-Gumpti National Park in the northeast Nigeria and in
nearby Cameroon. Her preliminary results, which were published in Nature last fall,
indicate that this population of chimps appears to be genetically quite different from the
three known subspecies of chimpanzee and maybe recognized as a fourth subspecies when the
analysis is completed.
Jonah Ratsimbazafy is a researcher
from Madagascar who is working toward a Ph D at SUNY Stony Brook. With partial funding
from PCI he returned to Manombo Special Reserve in the southeastern part of his country to
assess the effects of a cyclone which knocked down 60% of the trees in this reserve. The
lemurs that inhabit this forest, Including Eulemur fulvus albocollaris which is found only
in this and one other reserve, are having a difficult time finding enough food. They have
been seen crossing large grassy areas to get to small patches of forest. This is very
uncommon behavior for arboreal lemurs. Detailed results of his study will soon be
published in the journal Conservation Biology. It is sobering to realize how vulnerable
endangered species are to natural disasters when they are confined to the little islands
of habitat that we humans have left for them.
Jonah giving a talk to the Springs School in East Hampton,
The class has adopted a school near Manombo Special Reserve and
sent pens, pencils, and other educational materials for their school.
Lisa sitting on trees that were part of her study site until
took place in early 1997.
Lisa Pachulli was awarded a
grant in 1994 to study the simakobu which is the local name of the pig tailed langur which
is found only on the Mentawai Islands off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. She
established the Betamouga Field Station on the remote southwestern part of North Pagai
Island which was accessible only by boat, canoe and a 45 minute walk. She has managed to
habituated and study these monkeys. She is collecting data on their ecology and social
system. This is one of the few primates that has been reported to commonly live in both
monogamous groups and multimale multifemale groups. In April of 1997 while in the US
consulting with her thesis committee, she got word that illegal logging was taking place
near her study site. She immediately returned to Indonesia to find the loggers had built a
road to her study site and had logged half of it. Unwilling to give up on the forest and
the monkeys she is studying, she persuaded the loggers to stop cutting and negotiated with
the owners, the forestry department and the central government. She was successful in
establishing a 1700 acre protected research area with demarcated boundaries. She is
continuing her research and doing conservation work with the local villages so that they
can make a living without cutting down the forest. One idea being pursued is the
cultivation of a plant from which patchouli oil perfume is made.
PCI is funded by tax deductible
donations. In March PCI received a large cash donation from Pogonias Press which is the
publisher of The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Abigail Barber, the treasurer of
Pogonias Press reports that sales of the book have been steady and this book turned a
profit in late 1997 and the company was able to make donations to 4 different
organizations which help protect endangered primates in their natural habitats. If you
aren't familiar with this beautiful book, it is the only book to treat each of the 234
species of primates separately with over 500 color photographs. It can be ordered directly
from the publisher by calling 1 800 296 6310. If you mention PCI and you will get a 20%
Books for Conservation
Tom Plant, one of PCI's supporters,
initiated a book distribution project in 1997 and 1998. Primate field researchers and
conservationists were contacted and asked to nominate people in habitat countries who
would find The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates useful for their work but who were
unable to afford it. Copies of the book were then sent to the people nominated. To date
over 70 books have been given to people working to protect primates in 10 countries. If
you would like to help this or any other project please call the director.
Tax Advantages for Donors
Until June 30, 1998 Congress allows a
charitable deduction for the full value of a gift of appreciated stock to private 501 (c)
(3) foundations like PCI. Although it is hoped that this provision will be renewed for
another year, this is by no means certain. If you would like to make a contribution of
stock, please call the director before the end of June. We need your support so we can
continue to fund the many projects which are helping to protect and study the least know
and most endangered prosimians, monkeys and apes. Sincerely, Noel Rowe Director
Director's Report - 1997
This is the fourth year that PCI has
been giving grants. With your support we are achieving our goal of funding field research
and conservation projects on the least known and most endangered primates. We are very
proud of the 57 projects in 17 countries that have been funded to date. I regret that I
have neglected to report to you about our progress. I have been preoccupied with writing
The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates that was published in 1996 by Pogonias Press.
It is the first book to include photographs of the 234 species of primates. The text is a
short synopsis of what is known about the behavior, diet, habitat, life history, physical
characteristics, social structure, and taxonomy of each species including Homo sapiens.
The publisher will donate 30% of the net profits from the sale of this book to PCI. My
greatest hope is that The Pictorial Guide will be used by students, primatologists and
policy makers to study and protect endangered primates and their habitats. If you would
like a copy of this book it can be ordered directly from the publisher (1800 296-6310). If
you are a supporter of PCI you will receive a 10% discount.
The Importance Of Surveys
Sadly the threats to primates on this
planet have not diminished and in many countries they are becoming critical. Although
surveys are often of short duration, they are one of the important first steps for long
term conservation. Knowing where endangered primates still exist and with an estimate of
their density, researchers can draw attention to the plight of the species and their
habitat. This has been the case for a species endemic to Vietnam, the Tonkin snub-nosed
langur. It was reported to be "locally common" in the mid 1960's, but some
experts feared that it had not survived the civil strife.
A successful survey by Dr. Le Xuan
Canh, Marc Myers and Noel Rowe, Director of PCI, took place in December 1992 through
January 1993. With the help of the Vietnamese Institute for Ecology and Biological
Resources, PCI designed and sponsored a color conservation poster to inform the local
people about the plight of the Tonkin snub-nosed langur. With PCI's encouragement the
Wildlife Conservation Society sponsored Dr. Ramesh Boonratana and Dr. Canh to undertake a
long term study of the species.
PCI awarded a grant to Dr. Canh in
1994-5 to continue his conservation work with Vietnam's snub-nosed langur. In 1995, the
last two forests in which the Tonkin snub-nosed langur is found were declared the Na Hang
Nature Reserve. An ecotourism company has begun taking hardy travelers on visits of the Na
Hang Nature Reserve. This has provided support financial support for the local communities
that have voluntarily preserved their forest. The reserve has been included in a proposal
for a large United Nations Global Environmental Facility grant to protect the forest and
this endemic species. Unfortunately the wheels of this bureaucracy turn slowly and the
grant money has yet to reach this area in dire need of protection.
As Dr. Canh reported to the 1996
International Primatological Society in Madison, Wisconsin, what is currently needed is
equipment for the staff to better patrol the reserve. They especially need a small
motorboat ($1500) and a motor bike ($2000). If you would like to help raise funds for
these important items please contact me.
Is Miss Waldroni's Red Colobus Extinct?
In 1996 PCI funded two interrelated
surveys for Miss Waldroni's red colobus, which historically was found in Ivory Coast and
Ghana. This subspecies of the western red colobus (Procolobus badius waldroni) may have
the dubious distinction of being the first primate taxa to be lost to extinction in our
life time. Though "only a subspecies" we must remember that every taxa is very
important to the health of its forest home and ultimately, of the planet. Each of the
subspecies of red colobus lives in a separate region of Africa.
Tom Struhsaker, a primatologist who
has studied many of the red colobus subspecies, believes that each lives in a forest
refugia that has survived the many wet and dry climatic periods that have effected the
ecology of Africa over the last few million years. If one of the integral species of this
region is lost forever, we will never know its particular role in maintaining the forest
to which it has adapted. The forest and the local human population will be that much
poorer without the red colobus.
Dr. Scott McGraw from the Department
of Anatomy at the New York Institute of Technology will be conducting a survey of the
forests on the eastern edge of Ivory Coast adjoining Ghana. Dr. McGraw did his Ph.D.
thesis on the primates of the Tai forest in Ivory Coast.
Michael Abedi-Lartey from the Ghana
Wildlife Department will be conducting the other survey in the forests of western Ghana.
It is hoped that one or more populations of Miss Waldroni's colobus still exist in the
forest reserves on the boundary of these two countries. Dr. George Whitesides who received
a grant from PCI in 1995 to do a survey for 3 endangered taxa in Ghana, reported that
although the forests were being protected from logging, there were very few animals
sighted. No red colobus were seen by him. Poaching seems to be the main problem.
Bushmeat Trade Threatens Apes In West
The bushmeat trade, the commercial
hunting of wild animals for food to be sold in the markets of towns and cities, is having
a devastating effect on many primate populations. Some of the worst examples of the
bushmeat trade has been documented by Karl Amman in Cameroon, where commercial hunters are
targeting chimpanzees and gorillas. The meat of our closest living primate kin is being
sold in the cities for more money per pound then beef or chicken. This dangerous trade is
facilitated by the logging companies that build new roads ever deeper into the forest. The
roads and logging trucks make it possible for the hunters to get the meat to market
quickly. As Americans we know from our history, the buffalo was hunted to near extinction.
The railroad made it possible for the hunters to ship the meat and hides quickly to the
cities. Only the enforcement of laws passed and the hard work of many people, saved the
buffalo for us to know and appreciate today. We must do all we can to protect our fellow
apes from extinction.
Noel B Rowe