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
HIV injection nurse appeal hearing date set
The hearing of a criminal appeal in which Rosemary Namubiru, a nurse who is currently serving a three year jail sentence for injecting a-2-year-old baby with HIV-tainted cannula needle, is slated for September 23, 2014....
Four traders killed in lorry accident
Four traders were Monday night confirmed dead and five others seriously injured, after a Fuso truck they were traveling overturned at Kyakatebe, about twenty kilometers between Mubende and Kampala...
My bosses gave me $200 for 1,000 bullets-witness
A UPDF soldier has told the General Court Martial in Kampala that two of the force’s junior officers gave him $200 after he transferred 1,000 bullets from the armoury to the residence of one of them I Somalia....
US envoy calls Museveni over foiled attacks
The US ambassador to Uganda phone President Museveni after Ugandan security agencies successfully foil an al-Shabaab terrorist plot....
Police remembers first IGP Oryema
The Police will today (Tuesday) hold a memorial lecture in honour of the first Ugandan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Wilson Erinayo Oryema as part of its centenary celebrations...
Suspected terrorist intercepted in Malaba
A suspected terrorist, armed with a pistol loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, remains in Police custody, after he was nabbed in the border town of Malaba...
Will early retirement solve Uganda’s unemployment problem?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter