Infrastructure development and extraction of natural resources have devastated the prime habitat of apes and pushed chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans and gibbons closer to extinction.
The accelerated and unsustainable exploitation of the earth's primary natural resources has become a major threat to apes in Africa and Asia, according to a major United Nations environment conference held on June 25, 2014.
"There's absolutely no doubt that extractive industries are severely impacting on apes and their habitats!" Helga Rainer, conservation director of the Great Apes programme at the Arcus Foundation
Extraction of oil and gas, minerals and timber are the main cause of this serious threat. Only five out of 27 ape (habitats) do not have a mining project within their range and there is also an indirect impact associated with infrastructure development such as roads and railways.
According to a new report titled "State of the Apes: Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation", at the current rate, human development will have impacted 90 percent of the apes' habitat in Africa and 99 percent in Asia by 2030.
There are about 880 mountain gorillas across Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, while Cross River gorillas in Cameroon and Nigeria are thought not to exceed 250. In Asia, Sumatran orangutans are believed to have declined by 50 percent since 1992, and the entire population of Hainan black-crested gibbons in China amounts to just 21 individuals.
All species of apes are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), some critically so.
Officials said in a joint statement that:
"A key message of 'State of the Apes' report is that the global systems of production, consumption and demography are interconnected, and that rapid globalisation will continue to exert intense pressure on natural resources and ape habitats."
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