Nearly half of all primates at risk of extinction

Habitat destruction through logging and a boom in the bushmeat trade means almost half of the world's primate species are now threatened with extinction, says a comprehensive study from a conservation group.

The 2007 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) "red list" has 39% of primate species and sub-species in the three highest threat categories: vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. In the revised list, 48% are in these most threatened categories.

The IUCN said that in some regions the thriving trade in meat from wild animals means certain primates are being "eaten to extinction".

In southeast Asia, 71% of all Asian primates are now listed as threatened, the report said. In Vietnam and Cambodia, 90% are considered at risk. Populations of gibbons, leaf monkeys and langurs have dropped, it said, in part due to hunting to satisfy the Chinese medicine trade.

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