Experts around the globe stressed that over half of the world's primates are on the brink of extinction. Primates, including lemurs, monkeys and apes, are dwindling in numbers due to widespread loss of natural habitat and illegal wildlife sale. Hunting primates for wild meat also contribute to their reduced population.

For the first time, the Sumatran orangutan, Philippine tarsier and Madagascar's Lavasoa dwarf lemur joined the world's most endangered species list. The world's lesser-known but endangered primates are the research's main highlights.

"We hope it will focus people's attention on these lesser-known primate species, some of which most people will probably have never heard of," said Bristol Zoological Society's conservation director and lead primatologist Christoph Schwitzer.

The world has approximately 703 primate species and subspecies. Madagascar's Lavasoa dwarf lemur was discovered only two years ago. Other lesser-known primates in peril are the Roloway monkeys from the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Africa's red colobus monkeys and South America's spider monkeys and howler monkeys have become man's major targets in the hunt for wild meat.

International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission chair Russell Mittermeier hoped the new report would push governments around the world towards the much-needed conservation actions for biodiversity. Just in time for the climate change conference in Paris, there are accumulating evidence that some primate species are capable of scattering tree seeds of tropical trees, which could help moderate the worsening effects of climate change.

Below are the world's top 25 most endangered primate species in 2014 to 2016. Updated every two years and compiled by the Bristol Zoological Society, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Conservation International and the International Primatological Society, the list includes the species' estimated remaining population living in the wild.

  1. Lavasoa dwarf lemur - unknown
  2. Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur - approximately 2,500 to 5,000
  3. Red ruffed lemur - unknown
  4. Northern sportive lemur - approximately 50
  5. Perrier's sifaka - approximately 1,700 to 2,600
  6. Rondo dwarf galago - unknown; the species remaining natural habitat is about 40 square miles
  7. Roloway monkey - unknown; experts believe the species is on the 'very verge of extinction'
  8. Preuss's red colobus monkey - unknown
  9. Tana River red colobus monkey - approximately 1,000 with continuous decline
  10. Eastern lowland gorilla - about 2,000 to 10,000
  11. Philippine tarsier - unknown
  12. Javan slow loris - unknown
  13. Pig-tailed langur - about 3,300
  14. Cat Ba langur (golden-headed langur) - 60
  15. Delacour's langur - about 234 to 275
  16. Tonkin snub-nosed monkey - less than 250
  17. Kashmir grey langur - unknown
  18. Western purple-faced langur - unknown
  19. Hainan gibbon - about 25
  20. Sumatran orangutan - about 6,600
  21. Ka'apor capuchin - unknown
  22. San Martin titi monkey - unknown
  23. Northern brown howler monkey - less than 250 adult animals
  24. Colombian brown spider monkey - unknown
  25. Ecuadorian brown-headed spider monkey - unknown

Photo: Roberto Verzo | Flickr

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