Half the world’s species of monkey, gorilla and chimpanzee could soon disappear, experts have warned.
The destruction of their habitats and a thriving trade in bushmeat have pushed many to the brink of extinction, according to a report spearheaded by Bristol Zoo.
In parts of the Far East the proportion of primates at risk is as high as 90 per cent.
Demands to supply the pet and traditional Chinese medicine trades have also contributed to rapidly declining populations.
The Primates in Peril report warns that 48 per cent of the world’s 634 species of primate are in jeopardy.
The top 25 most-endangered primates includes five species from Madagascar, six from Africa, 11 from Asia and three from Central and South America.
There are thought to be fewer than 100 northern sportive lemurs left in Madagascar as their habitat is destroyed. They are confined to one forest in the north of Madagascar
In Vietnam and Cambodia up to 90 per cent of gibbons, monkeys and langurs could soon die out. The golden-headed langur, which is found only on the island of Cat Ba, north-eastern Vietnam, is hunted for use in Chinese medicine and only 60 to 70 of the animals remain.
There are only around 110 eastern black crested gibbons in northeastern Vietnam.
Habitat loss from logging and expansion of palm oil plantations has caused the Sumatran orangutan’s slide towards extinction.
On an optimistic note, more than 50 new species of primate have been discovered since 2000 and conservation projects have led to a resurgence in numbers of others, including the black lion tamarin and the gold lion tamarin.