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Lecture 11

Lecture 11 - Primate Conservation Biology - November 27.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Keriann Mc Googan

November 27, 2012. Lecture 11 - Primate Conservation Biology Intro  Many primate species very close to extinction o E.g. mountain gorillas, lemurs  Nearly half of the world’s 634 primate species are threatened (IUCN Redlist) What is conservation biology?  Scientific discipline that aims to provide knowledge and guidance necessary to maintain biodiversity  General knowledge base that underlies conservation action plans Key Questions  How is diversity of life distributed around the planet? o E.g. majority of these primates live in tropical regions  What threats does this diversity face? o Habitat disturbance  Forest loss: the removal of habitat/forest  More than 90% of all primates are tropical species  Africa, Asia, Central and South America  Tropical forests are disappearing rapidly, at a rate that is faster than any other biome, 5% a year  Agriculture o Shifting agriculture (slash and burn), typically happens because of small-scale farmers o Fires  Forestry o Logging for forest products o Chopped down for fuel (charcoal cooking)  Cattle ranching  Forest fragmentation: removal of habitat/forest in that the forest is splintered apart into smaller, isolated fragments  Implications: o Small size = high extinction risk, carrying capacity o Isolation = unlikely to receive help o Small size + isolation = low viability o Edge effects: more edge can have detrimental impact (e.g. plant growth varies from edge to centre, more trees/plants that are smaller and produce less fruit)  Impacts of Roads: o Many species, including primates, are sensitive to the barrier effects of roads, refusing to cross even two-lane roads in some cases. o E.g. road-kill, easier access for humans to hunt or extract resources, pollution from cars, bringing in of invasive species  Forest modification  Replacement of primary forest with secondary forest/regenerating forest o Secondary/regenerating forest: fast growing trees, require lots of light o Primary forest: huge, tall, wide trees that create large/dense canopies o Burning down of primary leaves only secondary o Some species cannot survive off of the plants/fruits that secondary forests produce and will actually avoid them; although some prefer secondary  Climate warming o Can change what fruit is available at what times of year and therefore what kinds of primates can eat and when o Hunting  Hunting for food  Bushmeat hunting is the second major cause of primate decline; becomes a serious issue when there is actually a high demand for bush meat (gorilla hands for ashtrays)  $68 million industry  Effects of hunting:  Reduce the population size  Changes to population structure (e.g. age-sex composition) o Adult males can be easier to find due to largeness or loudness o Targeting infants for pets; targeting lactating mothers to draw infants; mothers sold for bush meat and infants sold as pets results in more male presence in population  Behavioural changes o Snub-nosed langurs will stop making their loud calls in areas where they are hunted so as to not be detected o Primates will stop sleeping in trees with many vines because hunters use those vines to climb and grab them while they sleep  Changes to communities of primates o Pet trade
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