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Bushmeat: meat taken from wild animals that have been hunted for food. Killing endangered wild animals is illegal in most countries.

Deforestation: removing all the trees from a forested area. This is usually done by cutting trees down and then burning the stumps so no new trees grow back.

The future of primates

Many primates live in tropical rainforests in Asia, Africa, and South America. These habitats are quickly disappearing, which poses a threat to many primate species. Image by Phoenix B 1of3.Every summer, scientists and students from Arizona State University travel to Africa to study baboons and chimpanzees in the wild. Other researchers go to Asia, South America, and Madagascar. They want to learn more about the amazing primates that live here. Sadly, many wild primates are in danger of going extinct. In the future, students may not be able to study these species in their natural environments.

Primates as food or pets

In some parts of the world, people kill primates for food. In most places where this happens, this is part of an illegal bushmeat trade. Other primates are captured and sold illegally as pets. This is a horrible idea! Baby primates might look cute, but they do not make good pets. These animals need to be around their own kind and their own habitat. How else will they learn how to be good social primates?

Habitat loss

Most primates around the world live in tropical rainforest environments. They rely on trees to provide food and protection from predators. Unfortunately, humans are cutting down many of these trees. Trees are used for firewood or to make into furniture and paper. People also cut down trees to make space for farms. This deforestation leaves primates without a home and without the food they need to eat to survive.

Deforestation is a big threat to orangutans in southeast Asia. These Great Apes live on islands, meaning they have nowhere to go when their habitats are cut down. Images by David Arvidsson and Aidenvironment respectively.

What can you do?

You don’t have to travel to South America or Africa to save the rainforest and the primates that live there. In fact, you can make a difference without ever leaving home. For example, you can reuse and recycle paper products. Paper is just one of the many things that are made from trees. If every piece of paper was recycled, we wouldn’t need to keep cutting down trees to make more.

How did changes in the Earth’s climate affect our human ancestors?
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