Opportunities Lost: The Rapidly Deteriorating Conservation Status of the Monkeys on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea

Opportunities Lost: The Rapidly Deteriorating Conservation Status of the Monkeys on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea

Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program | September 1, 2010
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This report analyzes the current threats to monkey species living on Bioko Island and makes recommendations to ensure their preservation. This document is an update of the BBPP report “Monkeys in Trouble: The Rapidly Deteriorating Conservation Status of the Monkeys on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea (2006)” which was in turn an update of the earlier 2001 report “The Approaching Extinction of Monkeys and Duikers on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, Africa.”

"Primates, animals like gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys and galagos, are mankind’s closest relatives. The African country of Equatorial Guinea is home to at least 23 primate species, an amazingly high number for a country of relatively small size.  Only three other countries in Africa have more species of primates:  Democratic Republic of Congo with 34 species, Cameroon with 31 species, and Nigeria with 26 species. All three of these countries are, however, at least 16-times greater in area than Equatorial Guinea. For its size (28,000 sq km), Equatorial Guinea has more species of primates than any other country in Africa, if not the world. 

Many primate species are now threatened with extinction. The responsibility of protecting these valuable animals belongs to those countries within whose borders these species are found. The mainland part of Equatorial Guinea (Rio Muni) shares all 17 of its primate taxa (i.e., species and subspecies) with its neighbors, Cameroon and Gabon. However, most of the primate subspecies on the small island of Bioko (ca. 2,000 sq km) are found nowhere else on Earth. Unfortunately, most of Bioko’s primates are now among those species in danger of extinction. According to the present International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Species Survival Commission (SSC) Red List of Threatened Species, nine of the eleven primate species native to Bioko Island are subspecies either classified as “endangered” or “vulnerable.” This classification is because of (1) their small populations, (2) their small geographic ranges, and (3) the rapid rate of decline of their populations..."

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