Non-Human Primate Conservation: Effects on Both Non-Human Primates and Humans

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When viewing the topic of non-human primate conservation many issues arise as the

population is constantly growing and therefore requires more accessible space for building and

other land uses. The issue of non-human primate conservation is a large issue in various parts of

the developing world, as they are home to numerous non-human primates and as the developing

the human population is growing and the non-human primate population is decreasing with the

decrease in forest area. Viewing primates is a way of looking into our human past and ancestry,

therefore with the decrease in primates as they are quickly becoming extinct, we could possibly

never know the whole truth behind human ancestry. Many primatologists have devoted their life

studies to studying non-human primates, their biology, adaptation and social behaviors and with

the extinction of non-human primates none of these studies can be complete. A persisting debate

in the issue of non-human primate conservation is the balance between the economy of local

human populations and the survival of non-human primates who live within the proximity. One

specific non-human primate population that can be used to illustrate this debate is the

conversation of the Mountain Gorilla done by the International Gorilla Conservation Program.

The Mountain Gorilla had not been known to science until 1902 and lives in dense forests

in areas of tropical Africa. This non-human primate has a robust build with long arms, this type

of gorilla is known to be the hairiest of all gorillas, as the hair is used for warmth when living in high elevations. An active organization in the fight to conserve Mountain Gorilla life is the

International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), the main goal of this program is to ensure

the conservation of Mountain Gorillas and their natural environment in the main areas of

Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As noted on the IGCP website,

numerous things are involved in the conservation of Mountain Gorillas such as monitoring of the

gorillas, creating international boundaries as the gorillas do not recognize the areas in which they

are safe and which are not, this then requires help from citizens in the area to create land barriers.

It is also important to educate the citizens within areas of endangered primates, as then they can

work with those in conservation programs to ensure the survival of primates and their living


As expressed in the journal, “Regional Conservation in the Virunga-Bwindi Region: The

Impact of Transfrontier Collaboration Through the Experiences of the International Gorilla

Conservation Programme” (Rainer, Asuma, Gray, Kalpers, Kayitare, Rugtagarama, Sivha,

Lanjouw. 2003), the Virunga Volcano massif and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are two of the

forest blocks found in the Albertine Rift region which is shared by Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania

and the Democratic Repubic of Congo (DRC). The two forests combined are home to roughly

650 gorillas, these forests are home to numerous endangered species, these forests are also

crucial to the local population and environment as they have a high rate of evapotranspiration

which increases the level of precipitation in the area and that water is then used in nearby

communities. Another beneficial part of primate conservation is that they contribute to the

conversation of ecosystems. As explained in a journal article entitled, “Is Primate Conservation

Essential to Ecosystem Conservation?” (Wright and Wright. 2008) primate conservation also

aids in the re growth of ecosystems as primates pass on seedlings through cheek pockets and

feces. The IGCP and numerous other non-human primate conservation programs are not only

saving the Mountain Gorillas and other non-human primate populations but also helping

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