Rainforest's Endangered Monkeys
How the Rainforest Is Endangered?
Every year the rainforest dwindles a little more, taking away the homes of some of our most beloved creatures, such as primates and wild cats. Unfortunately, as the rainforest disappears, so do the animals that live there, causing many of these animals to become extinct everyday. So what causes the destruction of the rainforest? Keep in mind that as something in the food chain is harmed, so are all the things on both ends of it, including the plants and trees, not just the animals in the rainforest. Here are some of the top culprits for the shrinking of the rainforest:
- Introduction of exotic species
- Excessive hunting and fishing
- Development of new human communities close to rainforest
- Excessive and illegal logging
- Poorly timed or placed fires (beneficial in its normal cycle)
So what animals are going extinct in the rainforest? Many tapirs, cats, birds, and as listed below, many primates.
Sumatran Orangutans: Critically Endangered
Sumatran orangutans are the most endangered of all the ape species. There are only 6,500 left in the wild. Today, most of them live in forests outside of protected parks and reserves.
The Sumatran orangutan is native to the north end of Sumatra. They are tree dwellers, so much so that the females never walk on the ground. This makes them the largest tree-living mammal on earth. Everyday, each orangutan builds a nest in a tree in order to sleep. Since they are taught from their mothers how to make a nest, each community makes it a little different. One group actually will line their nests with leaves that repel insects. They prefer to live in mountainous regions, but stay below 3,300 feet elevation.
Orangutans are solitary mammals that require large amounts of land, although females will occasionally socialize with neighboring females. Females require 6 square miles of land, while males require a much larger territory. Unfortunately, the more land they require, the more limited a species is to where they can live. Therefore, the less amount of rain-forest that is available, the less orangutans that are able to live in the wild.
Chimpanzees and Their Use of Tools
Chimpanzees live as a community in African rain forests, grasslands, and woodlands. As many as four or five dozens may live together at one time. They usually sleep in trees where they build nests of leaves, and spend most their waking time swinging from tree to tree and eating fruits, plants, insects, and sometimes eggs or meat. Although they are mostly tree-dwellers, they walk efficiently both upright and on all fours where they do knuckle-walking.
Chimpanzees, along with many of the other ape species, use tools in their everyday life. Chimpanzees will smash nuts with stones and use sticks to reach insects. They are also able to learn some basic human sign language.
They generally grow about 4 to 5.5 feet tall, weighing 70 to 130 pounds. They can live up to 45 years in the wild. Although, much like most of the rain-forest creatures, their greatest enemy is the destruction of their habitat.
How Strong Is a Gorilla?
Gorillas are yet another endangered animal that can be found in the rain-forest. They are also known as the great ape due to their massive size and massive strength. They are able to bench press 4600 pounds! They usually are dark in color with black fur that covers everywhere except their face, hands, and rear.
The gorilla has many of the same threats as other primates, although unlike many of the others, the great apes decline began two hundred years ago when hunters began using guns to shoot. The hunters sought out the gorilla due to its large size, which would feed many people. Unfortunately, there are still many who hunt the gorilla for meat today. Now they only live along the border between Cameroon and Nigeria. It is believed that only 200 to 300 live in the wild today.
Golden Lion Tamarin Monkey
Lion tamarin monkeys get their name due to the mane around their head, because it is similar to that of the African wild cat. There are four species of lion tamarins, golden lion tamarins being the most critically endangered. They can live as long as fifteen years in the wild, and only weigh 14 to 29 ounces, with its body 7.5 to 8.75 inches long. The tail is longer at 10.25 to 13.5 inches.
Tamarins live primarily in trees, where they will carry their young on their back, as they swing from tree to tree. They live in social groups, so that both the male and the female take on primary care-giving roles with the young. Usually a pregnant tamarin will give birth to twins.
They reside naturally along the Atlantic coast in Brazil, where the rain-forest is lush. Due to delogging of the rain-forest in that area, their natural resources are being diminished, and limiting where they can live. As a result, the golden lion tamarin monkey's population is dwindling.
Where Can You Find a Spider Monkey?
Spider monkeys live in both Central and South America, where they form a group of up to three dozen animals. Although while they are sleeping, they make smaller groups of six or fewer monkeys. They can live up to twenty-two years in the wild. They are only 13 pounds and range from 14-26 inches tall without their tails.
They live most their lives up in the tree tops, where they will forage for food in small groups. They most often eat fruits, nuts, trees, bird eggs, and spiders. They have long lanky arms and legs without thumbs, which makes them very nimble. Since they are social creatures, they have many noises that they use to communicate with one another. Most are very loud like screeching or barking, although they have many other sounds as well.
They are endangered because of many reasons. Like all other rain-forest creatures, they are harmed by the deforestation, although they have another threat. The indigenous people often hunt spider monkeys for food. These two things in combination have caused their numbers to dwindle.
How Do Ring-Tailed Lemurs Fight: A Smelly Tail
Ring-tailed lemurs are native to the Island of Madagascar. They are most noted for their long beautifully striped, black and white tail. Despite their long tail, they are unable to use their tails like many other primates. Fortunately they are very nimble with their hands and feet, which make them excellent climbers.
Ring-tailed lemurs are social creatures, living in groups of half a dozen to thirty lemurs in one troop. They communicate with one another through a unique odor. The males will actually try to dominate one another by out-stinking one each other. They will actually cover their long tails with this smelly secretion, then wave their tails to determine which male lemur is the most powerful. Despite this display of dominance amongst the males, a troop is usually guided by a dominant female.
Like their primate cousins, they are endangered primarily because the sparse, dry forest where they live is becoming limited.
Do you believe in man-made global warming?
How Can You Save the Rainforest?
There are many beautiful animals that call the rain-forest home, these primates are just a few. We need to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to preserve the forests by using as little of the resources as we can. The resources we must use, we need to analyze whether we are able to recycle, reduce, or reuse these. Although you may not be able to directly save the rainforest, you can save the ecosystem in your area by:
- planting trees in otherwise barren areas.
- support companies that are eco-friendly, by using their products.
- educate others on how to help the environment.
- reduce your wood consumption.
- reduce your oil consumption.
- hold businesses accountable that are wasteful.
- "Endangered Species Conservation." WWF. Accessed April 09, 2012. http://worldwildlife.org/.
- "Mammals – Science Articles." Wild Mammals Science Articles Index - Current Results. Accessed April 09, 2012. http://www.currentresults.com/Wildlife/Mammals/index.php.
- "National Geographic." Animals. Accessed April 09, 2018. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/.
- Woodhouse, Graeme. TerraNature | Terra Nature Fund - Saving New Zealand Biodiversity. Accessed April 09, 2012. http://www.terranature.org/index.htm.
© 2012 Angela Michelle Schultz