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Funding for humans' closest relatives.

The Washington, D.C.-based World Wildlife Fund-U.S. this week launched an international campaign to raise $1 million to save diminishing wild populations of nonhuman primates.

The fund is focusing on three groups: the lemurs of Madagascar, the great apes of Africa and the New World monkeys, mostly in Brazil. Many species are dwindling so fast that one in seven could be extinct by the end of the century, says Russell Mittermeier, director of the fund's Primate Program. Some species, such as the golden lion tamarin, may survive through captive breeding and later release into the wild (SN: 3/3/84, p. 140). For others, preservation of tropical rain forests, in which more than 90 percent of all nonuman primates are found, may be the only chance for survival, Mittermeier says.

The organization will use the money--which it hopes to get from private sources--to set up or revamp national parks in countries like Brazil and Madagascar, with large primate populations, and to establish educational programs for local people. The educational effort is important, says the fund's president Russell Train, because "conservation that doesn't engage the self-interest of local people is not going to work."

A main reason for saving the world's nonuman primates is that they are a valuable model for studying the behavior of a close relative -- humans. Jane Goodall, whose studies of chimp behavior for the past 25 years at Tanzania's Gombe Stream Game Reserve have helped establish such a model, was named honorary chairperson of the campaign.
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Title Annotation:fund to save wild populations of nonhuman primates
Author:Bennett, Dawn D.
Publication:Science News
Date:May 18, 1985
Words:251
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