National
Planet of the dying apes: experts sound alarm over shrinking habitats
Publish Date: Jun 25, 2014
Planet of the dying apes: experts sound alarm over shrinking habitats
  • mail
  • img
newvision

NAIROBI - The accelerated and unsustainable exploitation of the earth's primary natural resources has become a major threat to apes in Africa and Asia, a major United Nations environment conference heard Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN Environment Assembly, conservationists said infrastructure development and extraction of natural resources -- including timber, minerals, oil and gas -- have devastated the prime habitat of apes and pushed chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans and gibbons closer to extinction.

"There's absolutely no doubt that extractive industries are severely impacting on apes and their habitats," said Helga Rainer, conservation director of the Great Apes programme at the Arcus Foundation, the world's largest private funder of ape conservation.

"Only five out of 27 ape (habitats) do not have a mining project within their range... and there is also an indirect impact associated with infrastructure development such as roads and railways," she added.

But while the cost to apes of economic development has been acknowledged for decades, researchers say more needs to be done to integrate their preservation into broader social, economic and environmental policies.

"We need to develop safeguards and environmental policies that can address these issues effectively," said Jef Dupain, director of the African Apes Initiative at the Nairobi-based African Wildlife Foundation.

Experts predict that at the current rate, human development will have impacted 90 percent of the apes' habitat in Africa and 99 percent in Asia by 2030, according to a new report titled "State of the Apes: Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation".

All species of apes are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), some critically so.

There are about 880 mountain gorillas across Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, while Cross River gorillas in Cameroon and Nigeria are thought not to exceed 250.

"There's a lot of pressure from mining activities, so you can see the pressure being exerted," said Andrew Seguya, executive director of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority.

In Asia, Sumatran orangutans are believed to have declined by 50 percent since 1992, and the entire population of Hainan black-crested gibbons in China amounts to just 21 individuals.

"A key message of 'State of the Apes' report is that the global systems of production, consumption and demography are interconnected, and that rapid globalisation will continue to exert intense pressure on natural resources and ape habitats," officials said in a joint statement.

RELATED ARTICLES

Another Bwindi gorilla dies

Gorillas face health risk

Uganda pleads with Rwanda on gorillas

Bwindi gorillas get babies

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Pakistani sexual abuse case judgment flops
The judgment of a case in which two Pakistanis’ are charged with having canal knowledge against order of nature and domestic violence has been adjourned to December 22, 2014 by the Chief magistrate Buganda Road court, Lillian Bucyana....
Daniel Kidega is new EALA Speaker
Ugandan legislator Daniel Kidega has been named the new Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, replacing Margaret Zziwa....
Archbishop raps KCCA over transfer of taxi park to Usafi
Archbishop Lwanga expresses concern over the difficult access of Nsambya Hospital following the transfer of taxis from the Old Taxi Park to Usafi Park....
Kisenyi Al shabaab terror linked case for January 5
The case of the 10 al-shabaab-linked terror suspects arrested in September in the city suburb of Kisenyi, has been pushed to January 5....
Man gets life sentence for raping, impregnating own daughter
A 54-year old man is to spend the rest of his life in prison for raping and impregnating his 14-year-old daughter....
Court rejects witnesses of ex-army commander
The General Court Martial in Makindye has rejected nine witnesses of the former commander of UPDF Battle Group 11+ in Somalia Col. Hassan Kimbowa....
Do you agree with the ban on the export of maids?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter