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Trade in primates is seen as a significant impediment to their conservation. Primates are traded both domestically and internationally, in order to supply, amongst others, biomedical industries and pharmaceutical markets, the entertainment business, or pet markets. Primate meat is consumed globally, whereas body parts are used as ingredients in traditional medicine or sold as curios. All international trade in primates is regulated through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), to which all but 2 primate range countries are signatory. The last 15 years has seen a linear increase in the export of live primates (each year 3500 more individuals are exported), with China being, numerically, the largest exporter. While the trade in live primates worldwide involves tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of individuals a year, the trade in dead primates involves millions of animals a year. We introduce here a series of studies dealing with various aspects of the primate trade. We hope that these studies will urge others to quantify the extent of trade in primates alive and dead in both domestic and international contexts, allowing us to find ways to mitigate the consequences of this trade to the conservation of primates.
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Endang Species Res
Vol. 13: 159–161, 2011
doi: 10.3354/esr00336 Published online February 16
International wildlife trade is seen as one of the lead-
ing threats to biodiversity conservation (Sutherland et
al. 2009). The trade in primates, be it as live individu-
als, as body parts or as meat has been invoked as a sig-
nificant threat to their conservation (Cowlishaw &
Dunbar 2000, Mittermeier et al. 2009). Recognising the
need to control this trade, the Convention on the Inter-
national Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora
and Fauna (CITES), first drawn up in 1973 and enter-
ing into force in 1976, has now been ratified by 175
countries or states. From the inception of CITES, it has
been recognised that the international primate trade
needs to be regulated, and indeed all species of pri-
mates are either listed in Appendix II of CITES (regu-
lating all commercial trade) or in Appendix I (preclud-
ing all commercial trade). As of 2010, all but 2 primate
Range States (Angola and possibly Timor Leste) are
Party to CITES.
In December 2008 the Primate Society of Great
Britain organised a conference in London entitled ‘Pri-
mate conservation: measuring and mitigating trade in
primates’ where new data on the primate trade were
presented and where its various aspects were dis-
cussed. Here we present a brief overview of the nature
of the primate trade putting the different contributions
to this Theme Section in context.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s the international
primate trade peaked to supply the demand for the
biomedical industry and pharmaceutical markets. Dur-
ing this period, India exported between ~50 000
(1960s) and ~20 000 (early 1970s) primates per annum
(Southwick & Siddiqi 2001), whereas Peru exported on
average ~30 000 primates per year (Smith 1978). These
official export figures were quite possibly underesti-
mates, and in the years which followed several coun-
tries implemented trade bans (Held & Wofle 1994,
© Inter-Research 2011 ·*Email:
Primate conservation: measuring and mitigating
trade in primates
V. Nijman1,*, K. A. I. Nekaris1, G. Donati1, 2 M. Bruford3, J. Fa4
1School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
2Department of Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, University of Pisa, Via Volta 6, 56126 Pisa, Italy
3Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
4Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, La Profonde Rue, Trinity, Jersey JE3 5BP, UK
ABSTRACT: Trade in primates is seen as a significant impediment to their conservation. Primates are
traded both domestically and internationally, in order to supply, amongst others, biomedical indus-
tries and pharmaceutical markets, the entertainment business, or pet markets. Primate meat is con-
sumed globally, whereas body parts are used as ingredients in traditional medicine or sold as curios.
All international trade in primates is regulated through the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), to which all but 2 primate range countries are
signatory. The last 15 years has seen a linear increase in the export of live primates (each year 3500
more individuals are exported), with China being, numerically, the largest exporter. While the trade
in live primates worldwide involves tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of individuals a year, the trade
in dead primates involves millions of animals a year. We introduce here a series of studies dealing
with various aspects of the primate trade. We hope that these studies will urge others to quantify the
extent of trade in primates alive and dead in both domestic and international contexts, allowing us to
find ways to mitigate the consequences of this trade to the conservation of primates.
KEY WORDS: Bushmeat · CITES · Conservation · Reintroduction · Wildlife trade
Resale or republication not permitted without written consent of the publisher
Contribution to the Theme Section ‘Primate conservation: measuring and mitigating trade in primates’
Endang Species Res 13: 159–161, 2011
Southwick & Siddiqi 2001). Now, over 30 yr later, there
seems to be a general consensus, at least among con-
servationists and primatologists, that the main threat to
primates is habitat loss and hunting (e.g. Cowlishaw &
Dunbar 2000, Strier 2011), although trade is recog-
nised as a leading threat for selected species (e.g. bar-
bary macaque Macaca sylvanus [Van Lavieren & Wich
2009] and slow lorises Nycticebus spp. [Nekaris & Nij-
man 2007]). Including domestic trade, however, the
live primate trade involves tens, if not hundreds, of
thousands of individuals a year (see below), whereas
the trade in dead primates involves millions a year
(e.g. Fa et al. 2006). While one would perhaps expect
that levels of trade in live primates have diminished
somewhat, data from the CITES trade database
( show that
this is not the case (Fig. 1). Since 1995 there has been a
linear increase in the export of live primates (R2 =
89.9%), with 3500 more individuals being exported
each year. Since 1995 China (31%) and Mauritius
(18%) supply almost half of all primates traded in-
ternationally; the single largest importer of live pri-
mates is the USA (26%) followed by Japan (14 %) and
China (13%).
Between 1990 and 1999 the numbers of wild-caught
and captive-bred primates were more or less equal;
after that there was a massive increase in captive-
breeding. Whether or not all these ‘captive-bred’ indi-
viduals are indeed derived from the wild has been
questioned (e.g. Eudey 2008). Another issue is whether
or not these figures represent real volumes or whether
there is a significant illegal international trade in addi-
tion to that which has been reported to CITES. Eudey
(2008) presented data on the large-scale illegal trade in
long-tailed macaques Macaca fascicularis from main-
land Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) into
China, to supply the booming biomedical trade. Like-
wise, Maldonado et al. (2009, this Theme Section)
report on the trade of over 4000 night monkeys (Aotus
spp.) per annum from Peru and Brazil into Colombia to
supply a biomedical research facility with primates. No
records are available for night monkeys in trade from
Peru and Brazil into Colombia in the CITES trade data-
base. Data on domestic trade in primates are more dif-
ficult to acquire (cf. Mack & Mittermeier 1984), but
work presented in this Theme Section by Nijman et al.
(2009) Ceballos-Mago & Chivers (2010), Ceballos-
Mago et al. (2010) and Shepherd (2010) shows that this
can involve considerable numbers.
Apart from the live primate trade, there is a signifi-
cant international trade in dead primates and their
derivatives. For instance, data from the CITES trade
database show that in the last 30 yr 1365 primate bod-
ies (mainly macaques and baboons), 6143 skins
(colobus monkeys) and 11292 skulls (baboons and
vervets) were exported. Unbeknownst to many per-
haps, there exists a significant market for primates to
be hunted as trophies, with almost 20 000 primates
(of >32 species) having been exported as such over the
last 30 yr.
Fa et al. (2006) calculated that, of over a million car-
casses traded as bushmeat per year at 100 sites, close
to 15% were of primates, and Alves et al. (2010), pro-
viding an overview of the global use of primates in tra-
ditional folk medicines, noted that >100 species were
traded for this purpose. Wright & Priston (2010, this
Theme Section) provide a case study of the bushmeat
trade in Cameroon, showing that even at a local scale,
capture of bushmeat for sale far
exceeds that for local consumption.
Starr et al. (2010, this Theme Section)
quantify the dramatic impact of domes-
tic trade on Cambodia’s 2 slow loris
species, demonstrating that their key
role in folk medicine may be driving
them towards extinction. Whereas
trade in live individuals, skins and tro-
phies is by and large attributable to
individual species (or higher taxa), the
trade in primate body parts or primate
meat often involves unidentifiable
items. Rönn et al. (2009, this Theme
Section) provide a novel way to iden-
tify primates in the bushmeat trade by
microarray sequencing to facilitate law
Since 2000, the Primate Specialists
Group of the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature in associa-
Number exported
Fig. 1. Export of a total of 1.1 million live primates as reported by exporting Par-
ties to the CITES Secretariat, showing total numbers, and the number of wild-
caught and captive-bred individuals. China, the largest exporter of primates at
present, joined CITES in 1980. Numbers in the early years and for 2009 (and
possibly 2008) are artificially low because of under-reporting
Nijman et al.: Primate conservation: overview
tion with the International Primatological Society and
Conservation International have brought out a list of
the World’s top 25 most endangered primates. Mitter-
meier et al. (2006) mention trade as threatening only
one of the 25 listed taxa, whereas only 4 yr on, trade for
meat, medicine and pets is implicated as a major
source for the decline of 9 of the world’s rarest primate
taxa (Mittermeier et al. 2009). We urge further studies
such as those presented in this Theme Section to quan-
tify the extent of this serious threat.
Acknowledgements. We thank the Primate Society of Great
Britain for sponsoring the meeting that inspired these contri-
butions and for funding the travel expenses of several key
speakers. We are grateful to the Zoological Society of London
for sponsoring the event. We thank P. Kuhn and B. Godley for
their patience throughout the editorial process.
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... Lastly, we found that trafficking and trade (e.g., in parts and live individuals) are important and unsustainable threats that have increased in recent years (Nijman et al., 2011;Norconk et al., 2020 Nijman et al. (2014) showed that in one market in Myanmar annually ~1000 Bengal slow lorises (Nycticebus bengalensis) were killed and traded for their parts to be used as medicine. While these reports are all from physical markets, the primate trade increasingly has moved online (Nijman et al., 2021;Siriwat et al., 2019), and here also, the effect this trade may have on wild populations (if any) remains unclear. ...
... For example, ~4000 wild-caught night monkeys (Aotus nancymaae, A. vociferans, and A. nigriceps) from Brazil-Colombia-Peru tri-border area were illegally sold to a biomedical research company in 2007-2008(Maldonado et al., 2009. Much of the international live primate trade involves captive-bred individuals that are mostly bred in countries to which they are not native Nijman et al., 2011). ...
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The world's primates have been severely impacted in diverse and profound ways by anthropogenic pressures. Here, we evaluate the impact of various infrastructures and human-modified landscapes on spatial patterns of primate species richness, at both global and regional scales. We overlaid the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) range maps of 520 primate species and applied a global 100 km 2 grid. We used structural equation modeling and simultaneous autoregressive models to evaluate direct and indirect effects of six human-altered landscapes variables (i.e., human footprint [HFP], croplands [CROP], road density [ROAD], pasture lands [PAST], protected areas [PAs], and Indigenous Peoples' lands [IPLs]) on global primate species richness, threatened and non-threatened species, as well as on species with decreasing and non-decreasing populations. Two-thirds of all primate species are classified as threatened (i.e., Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable), with ~86% experiencing population declines, and ~84% impacted by domestic or international trade. We found that the expansion of PAST, HFP, CROP, and road infrastructure had the most direct negative effects on primate richness. In contrast, forested habitat within IPLs and PAs was positively associated in safeguarding primate species diversity globally, with an even stronger effect at the regional level. Our results show that IPLs and PAs play a critical role in primate species conservation, helping to prevent their extinction; in contrast, HFP growth and expansion has a dramatically negative effect on primate species worldwide. Our findings support predictions that the continued negative impact of anthropogenic pressures on natural habitats may lead to a significant decline in global primate species richness, and likely, species extirpations. We advocate for stronger national and international policy frameworks promoting alternative/sustainable livelihoods and reducing persistent anthropogenic pressures to help mitigate the extinction risk of the world's primate species.
... Currently, capuchins are divided into two genera (Cebus and Sapajus) although remain under certain taxonomic ambiguity among the general public (Lynch-Alfaro et al., 2012). They are both traded and kept as pets in their native countries and exported (both legal and illegally) in increasing numbers to the United States, Japan, and China (Cormier, 2003(Cormier, , 2006Levacov et al., 2011;Nijman et al., 2011;Seaboch & Cahoon, 2021;Soulsbury et al., 2009;Urbani, 1999). ...
... At present, the status of 5 of the 7 Sapajus species and 13 of the 15 Cebus species are listed as either vulnerable or at a high risk of becoming extinct in the near future ("Red List of Threatened Species," International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2021). Although the main threats to the conservation of primates are habitat loss and fragmentation (Estrada et al., 2018;Galán-Acedo et al., 2019), there is no doubt that commercial trade also contributes negatively (Nijman et al., 2011). The capuchin was the third most exported primate from South America between 1977 and 2013 (8766 individuals), among which most are thought to have either been removed from the wilderness or come from unknown origins, and only 4.7% are thought to have come from captivity. ...
... Of the 522 currently recognised primate species, 60% are threatened with extinction, and nearly 75% face population declines (Estrada et al. 2017;IUCN Primate SG 2021). Domestic and international trade in primates is considered a major impediment to primate conservation globally (Duarte-Quiroga and Estrada 2003;Nijman et al. 2011;Blair et al. 2017;Estrada et al. 2017;LaFleur et al. 2019;Scheffers et al. 2019;Norconk et al. 2020). Primates are traded for a number of purposes, including use in research, as pets, food, ingredients in traditional medicines, for entertainment, trophies, and for collections (Nijman et al. 2011;Linder et al. 2013;Estrada et al. 2017). ...
... Domestic and international trade in primates is considered a major impediment to primate conservation globally (Duarte-Quiroga and Estrada 2003;Nijman et al. 2011;Blair et al. 2017;Estrada et al. 2017;LaFleur et al. 2019;Scheffers et al. 2019;Norconk et al. 2020). Primates are traded for a number of purposes, including use in research, as pets, food, ingredients in traditional medicines, for entertainment, trophies, and for collections (Nijman et al. 2011;Linder et al. 2013;Estrada et al. 2017). The global trade of live primates, both legal and illegal, has been estimated at US$ 138 million annually (Norconk et al. 2020). ...
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Illegal and/or unsustainable trade is a major obstacle to effective primate conservation. The wildlife trade in the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) is significant, but for many species, such as primates, the trade is poorly understood and sparsely reported. All EU countries are Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); all primates are listed on Appendix I or II of CITES and are included on Annex A or B of Regulation (EC) No 338/97. We here combine data from several databases (CITES, UN Comtrade, TRAFFIC WiTIS) and seizure reports, to provide a narrative of the trade in primates into and within Europe. The legal import of live primates (2002–2021) amounted to 218,000–238,000 individuals (valued at US$ 869 million), with France, the UK, and Spain as the main importers and Mauritius, Vietnam, and China as the main exporters. Over 21,000 primate parts (trophies, skulls, bodies) were imported mainly from African countries, and UN Comtrade data suggests that ~ 600 tonnes of primate meat was imported mainly from Asia. The vast majority of live primates are either captive-born or captive-bred, and this proportion has increased over time. Reports of the illegal primate trade are far from complete, but the illegal trade of specific species or primate meat can have negative impacts of wild populations of already imperiled species. Stronger policies and more effective enforcement in consumer countries, such as the EU, would also aid in, and garner support for, better protecting primates in primate range states.
... The illegal wildlife trade, which is still very active across Africa, continues to be a major concern for primates. Nijman et al. [24] stated that in urban markets, the live trade in primates, such as the pet-trade, involves hundreds of thousands of individuals a year, while the trade in primate parts amounts to millions a year, both internationally and nationally. In central Africa, the hunting of adult chimpanzees for meat can also result in orphaned chimpanzee young entering the pet trade, compounding ape decline [25]. ...
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... For an exporting country to be included in this study, the country was required to be either (1) a known major global producer of macaques [23] or (2) a country of South-East Asia given such countries are a large component of the geographic distribution of most macaque species [17,18,20].Therefore, exporting countries included Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Timor-Leste, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Israel, China and Mauritius [8,18,20,23,24]. All other countries of export were excluded given they had either negligible trade or were not the country of origin for the majority of trade reported to CITES, as observed during the preliminary reports screening. ...
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Trade can have serious implications for primate species. Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) have historically been a principal species traded for biomedical research. Individuals found in the biomedical trade continue to be sourced from captive-bred, wild, and semi-wild populations. The number of legally traded owl monkey body parts or derivatives registered with CITES is increasing, while the only trade of live individuals since 1990 is from Peru. There are estimates that numbers of owl monkeys trafficked illegally for biomedical experiments to Colombia during 1994–2011 are at least as great as the global legal trade. Owl monkeys are commonly found in the illegal pet trade, which is larger and has more serious implications than the legal trade, and trafficking in live animals is the main form of domestic trade. Reported numbers consistently underestimate the true scale of the problem, and current levels of enforcement are insufficient to properly combat trafficking.
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Several primate species are currently threatened by the pet trade. Primate pet trade not only affects the animal that is kept in captivity, but is also a problem for wild primate populations already threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Local knowledge and perceptions of pet primates and the wild Margarita capuchin Cebus apella margaritae were assessed through a pet survey on a regional scale, on Isla de Margarita and Isla de Coche in the state of Nueva Esparta in the Venezuelan Caribbean Sea. This assessment was conducted to generate recommendations for developing effective management strategies to stop the primate pet trade, for improving the welfare of these primates and for conservation of the Margarita capuchin. A semi-structured interview was used to gather information about species identification, age, husbandry methods, diet, behaviour, health and respondents’ knowledge and perception, for a sample of 50 pet primates. The majority of pets were kept under inadequate conditions, without appropriate space, nutrition and veterinary assistance. Most respondents had no basic information about the existence and characteristics of the wild Margarita capuchin. Effective environmental education programmes in the study area should consider the current motivation of people acquiring primates as pets, in order to stop this practice and to incorporate local people into the conservation of the endemic Margarita capuchin.
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Bushmeat hunting has evolved into a large-scale commercial activity in western and central Africa. Primates are particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation and tend to be absent from heavily hunted areas. To reduce their rate of decline, human use of, and reliance on, bushmeat must be understood so that locally appropriate mitigation strategies can be developed. We address the social dimension of bushmeat hunting by revealing why people hunt, the techniques used, harvest composition, species preferences and the nature of human economic and nutritional reliance. Data were collected during May and June 2007 in Lebialem Division, Southwest Region, Cameroon. Ninety semi-structured interviews with hunters and trappers were conducted alongside participatory appraisal sessions in 6 rural communities. The main reason for harvesting bushmeat was income generation. Shotguns were the weapon of choice, enabling 74% of interviewees to hunt primates. A decrease in mammalian abundance was reported by 88%, motivating hunters to trek to pro- tected areas outside of Lebialem. 64% sold more bushmeat than they consumed, with hunters selling a greater proportion than trappers, due to species composition. Fish was the principle source of animal protein consumed on a regular basis. Hunting and trapping were mainly secondary income- generating activities, but the flexibility of labour inputs and rates of return make them important livelihood components. To reduce financial reliance on bushmeat harvesting and the volume of species extracted, the development of economic alternatives and conservation education pro- grammes should be given priority.
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The illegal and unsustainable trade in primates is increasingly recognized as an urgent threat to their conservation. From 1997 to 2008, 66 surveys were conducted at bird markets in Medan, North Sumatra, where primates are sold openly. In total,1953 primates of 10 species were observed, the most common of which were the long-tailed macaque Macaca fascicularis (774 ind.), the greater slow loris Nycticebus coucang (714 ind.) and the pig-tailed macaque M. nemestrina (380 ind.). Six of the species observed are totally protected in Indonesia, yet were openly traded. Trade in the remaining 4 species is regulated through a harvest and trade quota system, but no quotas are allotted for them to be traded as pets. Therefore, all trade in primates observed in these markets is deemed illegal. The Indonesian authorities should be encouraged to take action against this illegal trade in Medan. Markets selling illegal wildlife should be closed down, and individuals found illegally trading in primates should be prosecuted.
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The Critically Endangered Margarita capuchin monkey Cebus apella margaritae is a sub-species endemic to Isla de Margarita in the Venezuelan Caribbean Sea, and is the only wild primate on the island. The major threats affecting its survival are habitat fragmentation and poaching for pest control and the pet trade. As part of the Margarita Capuchin Project, a pioneering long-term project for the conservation of this monkey, we characterised the pet-primate population on a regional scale in the state of Nueva Esparta (Isla de Margarita, Isla de Coche and Isla de Cubagua) to generate recommendations for conservation decision making. We conducted a survey of pet primates in the region, made an assessment of intestinal parasites in pet primates, and interviewed hunters. Information about species, current location, sources and trade routes were gathered. We found 162 pet primates representing 5 species; of this total, 35 were Margarita capuchins. We also found that at least 100 Margarita capuchins have been hunted for the pet trade in the last 25 yr; this is cause for considerable concern in terms of the conservation of a wild population of less than 300 individuals. Illegal pet-trade on both a national and an international level was revealed in this study. We detected pet primates infected with intestinal parasites common to humans and domestic animals (Strongyloides stercolaris, Ancylostomas sp., Toxocara leonine and Blastocystis hominis), and using GIS analysis, we identified areas of potential high threat of disease transmission and hybridisation if escaped pet primates were to reach the Margarita capuchin habitat. Preventing the illegal trade of all monkey species, law enforcement and the establishment of a Monkey Rescue Centre to conduct a management programme for the existing Margarita capuchin pet population are among the conservation actions urgently needed in this region.
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About a quarter of non-human primate species are threatened by extinction in the near future. Loss of habitat, disease and illegal hunting, especially for the bushmeat trade, are major causes of concern. Here, we develop an identification tool for primate genera using diagnostic nucleotide positions in the epsilon globin gene, apolipoprotein B gene and mitochondrial 12S rRNA. We identified 111 diagnostic nucleotide positions suitable for genotyping by a minisequencing assay in a microarray format. To show the applicability of the microarray, we typed 70 non-human primates representing all primate infraorders. Sixty-five samples were assigned to the correct infraorder, and 32 were assigned to the correct genus (the highest level of taxonomic resolution attempted here). Our results show that it is feasible to distinguish among a high number of primate taxa if the system allows hierarchical assignation of the samples at different taxonomic levels and includes both taxon-specific and redundant positions.
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We present data on ~600 gibbons in 22 zoos and 9 wildlife rescue centres and reintro- duction centres in western Indonesia based on surveys conducted from 2003 to 2008. All gibbon spe- cies are protected by Indonesian law and cannot legally be kept as pets. Gibbons rarely breed suc- cessfully in Indonesian zoos, and the vast majority of animals present in these collections originate from the illegal wildlife trade, having been donated to the zoos by the public or brought in by Indone- sian authorities after being confiscated from dealers or private owners. Gibbons in rescue and reha- bilitation centres also derive largely from donations or confiscations. The surveys provide insight into the volume and species composition of gibbons in trade. All 7 species of gibbon that occur naturally in Indonesia were observed, with the highest numbers (130 ind.) being for the siamang Symphalan- gus syndactylus. About 100 ind. each for Bornean and Sumatran agile gibbons Hylobates albibarbis and H. agilis, Javan gibbon H. moloch and Müller's gibbon H. muelleri were present, but only a handful of white-handed H. lar and Kloss' gibbons H. klossi. No gibbons that do not occur in Indone- sia were recorded. Numbers of the different species in trade appear to be positively related to their numbers in the wild. Trade in Sumatra and Borneo appears to be confined to species naturally occur- ring there, but all species are traded on Java. About twice as many gibbons were taken in by the respective institutions following confiscations by the Indonesian authorities compared to gibbons received as donations by the public. However, prosecution of offenders is rare, and given the large scale of the gibbon trade, we urge the Indonesian authorities to increase efforts to enforce wildlife protection laws.
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This study describes significant levels of trade in 2 or possibly 3 species of night mon- keys (Aotus nancymaae, A. vociferans and A. nigriceps) from the Brazil-Colombia-Peru tri-border area. All 3 countries are Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and there is no documented trade in night monkeys among these 3 countries in the CITES trade database. However, interviews with 43 traders/collectors in 11 commu- nities in the 3 countries suggest that for the period 2007-2008, ca. 4000 night monkeys were traded, representing a monetary value of over USD 100 000 for the traders and intermediaries. The intervie- wees indicated that the animals were sold to a biomedical laboratory in the tri-border area on the Colombian side of the border. The international nature of the trade and the large volume of night monkeys being traded indicate a violation of, and a failure to adhere to, international trade regula- tions. In order to conserve these important species, we suggest cooperative action from environmen- tal and conservation authorities and the respective CITES Management Authorities in Colombia, Peru and Brazil to curb the trade, and urge the Colombian authorities to investigate the illegal impor- tation of night monkeys by a biomedical laboratory in the border area.
The crab-eating or long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) of tropical Southeast Asia is a widespread but rapidly declining species. The threats to the species are manifold and include habitat loss and degradation that increasingly result in conflict with expanding human populations in both rural and urban landscapes, as well as trapping and trade for pharmaceutical testing, research, and development. The greatest threat from the trade is in the Indochinese region, especially Cambodia where in 2003–2004 macaques began to be harvested from the wild, ostensibly for captive breeding for export to China and to the USA and elsewhere. The lucrative operations, however, may serve to “launder” wild-caught monkeys and appear to have resulted in their disappearance even from legally protected areas. Much of the impetus for this trade appears to be biowarfare research in the USA, the country that is the world's largest user of primates. Macaca fascicularis is classified as of “Least Concern” in the IUCN/SSC 2008 Red List of Threatened Species. It is imperative that the conservation status of the species be reassessed and that the impact of trade on the species be assessed by the CITES Secretariat.
Nonhuman primates are essential to the advancement of some areas of biomedical research and testing. Some populations of these species in the wild may be threatened with extinction because of habitat destruction; therefore, the biomedical community has been monitoring trends in their importation and use, and supporting various conservation activities. During the past 25 years, there has been a marked decrease in importations into the United States, a large proportion of which is the result of a 1975 ban on their importation for the pet trade. During the same period, the need for biomedical purposes has remained fairly constant. Nonetheless, the reductions in imports have been augmented by the biomedical community through reducing losses during quarantine and conditioning, ensuring a more judicious use of these animals, and by increasing the availability of animals from breeding programs both in source countries and the United States. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.