extinction of great apes

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The great apes are humankind’s closest relatives. Great apes include gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and bonobos, which are also known as pygmy chimps. At the turn of the century, there were approximately one million chimpanzees in Africa. This number has declined down to 150,000. Mountain gorillas have halved in size over the last ten years, leaving only 320 to roam the trees of their homeland. Some say these great apes will face extinction within a decade. Why is this the case and should we let this happen?
These apes lose areas of habitat on a daily basis. They are also constantly slaughtered for meat and body parts. These two enormous contributors of great ape depletion are just unnecessary additional threats to the existence of our relatives. We must not forget that there is also disease and environmental catastrophes that kill off these intelligent human-like primates. Humans share up to 98% of their DNA. This makes the great apes a very valuable and important subject for study. There is a lot we can learn from them. Because we are so closely related, this may also be a link to global extinction. Perhaps a more thorough evaluation of each of the factors which contribute to the depletion of the four great apes may help to understand how damaging and unnecessary this depletion has become for them, as well as for us.

Loss of Habitat
One of the most influential causes for the mass decline in great apes is due to habitat loss. Habitat loss includes the clearing out of forests for agriculture, timber extraction, and fuel wood. The orangutan may be in the most trouble because of this. The last large groups of these primates are located in the large rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. These forests are currently being destroyed by illegal loggers, planters, and also by forest fires. Many of these fires seem to be started by plantation owners. The act of logging is not just about taking down a few large trees. It is about stealing all of their resources. Great apes use their environment to build tools and to eat. If we continue to take away their primary food source, they are sure to die off. In addition to destroying their food resources, logging creates islands of rainforest. Cutting down trees, leaves gaps of open area. This causes an isolation of the great ape population.
The gap caused by logging also is a common cause of these rainforest fires.

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