IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group

Simone Sbaraglia (Wildscreen Exchange)

Bristol Zoological Society, as part of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, co-organised an African Primate Red List Assessment Workshop in order to better understand the current threats and status of all African primates.

The five-day workshop, held in Rome, was to enable all African primates to be (re)assessed (a total of 188 assessments) to ensure that the most up-to-date information is available on the The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the basis on which many conservation decisions are made. In addition, they  also assessed species being described for the first time or those that have undergone taxonomic revisions.

The workshop also built capacity within Africa as one of the largest gatherings of African nationals working on primates to date. It brought together taxonomists, field conservationists and researchers, wildlife epidemiologists, conservation geneticists and small population experts from across Africa, as well as a small number from the USA and Europe. The workshop enabled the group to start developing coordinated Species Conservation Strategies for those most in danger and to explore the feasibility of developing a Pan-African Primate Conservation Group, a mechanism that works well in other parts of the world.

Across the African continent, primates face severe threats and while the well-known great apes often receive significant attention, the lesser-known primates are still subject to large-scale habitat loss and fragmentation throughout their range and many do not receive the same level of attention or efforts to protect them. The most recent list of the world’s 25 most endangered primate species (Schwitzer et al., 2014) featured five African species: the Rondo dwarf galago (Galagoides rondoensis), Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus roloway), Bioko red colobus (Piliocolobus pennantii pennantii), Tana River red colobus (Piliocolobus rufomitratus) and Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri). In order to protect them, up-to-date information on their status is vital, as are coordinated responses to their declines.

At A Glance