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Many Primate Species Primates are mammals covered with fur living in various environments on most continents including Africa and South America. Long ago, there was a higher population of primates but loss of natural habitat has reduced its numbers. The primate species includes simians and prosimians that have different physical characteristics and ways of living. Most wild primates live in jungles or forested areas near lush vegetation such as shrubs, grass and trees. This variety of animal is usually a vegetarian, but scientists have occasionally observed certain primate species consuming meat such as insects. There are several varieties of wild primate species living in remote areas away from humans. Mountain Gorillas Smaller primates often climb in trees to find foods such as nuts, berries and seeds. There are species of primates including gibbons that seldom touch the ground but travel from tree to tree with their long arms while holding on branches. Mountain gorillas frequently weigh hundreds of pounds and are unable to climb trees. This species will search for food that falls from trees or grows on shrubs instead. Many primates have the ability to stand on their hind legs to reach for food in trees or walk for long amounts of time. Several species will alternate between walking on four or two limbs. Types of Social Groups Primates range in size from tiny lemurs as small as a mouse to gorillas that weigh over 400 pounds. Many types of primate species will travel in groups or packs with one large adult male, several smaller females and youngsters of various ages. Males and females may have different color variations, tooth size and other traits to distinguish the genders. Primates tend to have large brains making it an... ... middle of paper ... the other primates to run for shelter. Most species of wild primates live in rainforests on various continents. Hiding in the tops of trees is very common for many primates but several species live on the ground instead. Protecting Primates from Extinction The loss of natural habitat, disease and capture has reduced the number of many primate species. Hunters have captured large numbers of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans for circuses and zoos. Many hunters kill primates to use the fur, body parts or meat. Unfortunately, several health conditions such as measles can also transfer to several species of primates. Because the primates have no natural immunity, vaccination or medical treatment, many social groups die. Today, there are groups of people who protect primates by providing animal sanctuaries while fighting for laws that prevent killing the animals.
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