Conserving primates

By Jojina Minis

International Primate Day is celebrated annually on 1st September. The day is dedicated to preserving and protecting primates of all species including chimpanzees, monkeys, orangutans, and gorillas. The day was first celebrated in 2002.
This year, the celebrations were held at Karura Forest. NEMA participated in the celebrations where other
stakeholders such as the Institute of Primate Research, Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Forest Service, and Friends of Karura participated in the event. The theme was “Restoring forest habitats and creating awareness to mitigate conflicts and climate change for the long-term survival of primates.” Some of the activities included a primate walk to catch a glimpse of the Mt. Kenya guereza relocated from Kipipiri in 2015 to mitigate human/wildlife conflict in the area. The day celebrates primates, advocates for the enhancement of their welfare, and calls for the conservation of primates species facing imminent risk of extinction locally, nationally, and globally.
20,000 indigenous trees were planted during the event to enrich the primate habitats. Primates have been traded long distances and across borders for millennia. The most immediately apparent use for primates is as food, but their uses go well beyond their basic value as a protein source. One of the most important drivers for international trade in primates is the biomedical industry, with China and Indonesia acting as the most significant exporters and the USA as the largest importer. However, the nature of international primate trade
has changed over the years, and commercial trade in wild-caught primates. However, this remains a major
impediment to the conservation of selected species.

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