10 October 2008 :
Time running out for world's primates
A Conservative MP, Mark Pritchard, will warn (Tuesday 14th October) that "time is running out for the world's primates" as he introduces a Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament.
According to Animal Defenders (UK) upto 3,000 primates are being kept as pets in the United Kingdom.
The MP's Bill comes at a time when primates are diminishing in numbers because of climate change; deforestation; and being hunted for bush meat.
A recent IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which included a global review of primates, revealed that 48% of primate species face extinction if no action is taken by governments.
In Asia conservationist say that 70% of primates are facing extinction. Cambodia's attrition rate is higher with 90% of its primate population under threat. China faces its own challenges with 79% of threatened species (* source: IUCN Red List). Brazil's populations of Golden Tamarins are also critically endangered.
Mr Pritchard said:
"There is a limited amount the Uk government can do to tackle climate change and deforestation but there is a lot they can do to stem the demand for primates as pets which would go some way in reducing the numbers of primates being hunted as exotic pets. Often primates can live up to forty years. They need constant inter-action; a special diet; and plenty of vertical and horizontal space. A three-bedroomed suburban home or one-bed roomed flat in does not provide the habitat they need. This trade is outdated; cruel; and is counter to the government's own agenda of protecting habitats and the global environment. Selling primates as pets should end".
The Bill has attracted cross part support including the former Minister of State for Climate Change, Elliott Morley MP, who remains the Prime Ministers Special Representative to the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change
The Bill is being supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare; The Monkey Sanctuary Trust, and Animal Defenders International