Monday, January 18, 2010

Endangered

The Western Lowland Gorilla

In the wild, these primates are under siege. Forest loss is a twofold threat; it destroys gorilla habitat and brings hungry people who hunt gorillas for bushmeat. Farming, grazing, and expanding human settlements are also shrinking the lowland gorilla's space.

You'll noticed a common theme in my recent posts, i.e., the disappearance of the earth's species, animal and plant. Despite the nano second of human existence on the earth relative to biological time, most biologists believe we are responsible for what they call The Sixth Mass Extinction.

Daniel Simberloff, who is Professor of Environmental Studies and director of the Institute for Biological Invasions at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, says, "I'm actually certain that we're in the midst of a mass extinction. Geologically, there have been five periods in which upwards of 20 percent of the Earth's species, in one case maybe 90 percent of the Earth's species, went extinct, and there've been about 20 or so others in which anywhere from two to 10 percent of species have gone extinct. And certainly over the last few hundred years there are enough extinctions to qualify us in the second category. There's documentary evidence, in some cases, for this. And it's an ongoing process. It's not slowing down -- if anything, it appears to be accelerating. So I think it's quite possible that we'll eventually be in a situation that qualifies as one of the great mass extinctions."

The Golden Lion Tamarin

Despite their name, these rare primates have far more in common with their monkey relatives than any feline. These interesting and beautiful animals are critically endangered, as are many of the forests in which they live. Brazil's Atlantic coastal rain forests are disappearing due to ever-expanding logging, agriculture, and industry, and unfortunately, the golden lion tamarin is in danger of vanishing with them.

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