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Contemplation!

Temminck's Red Colobus (Procolobus badius temminckii)

 

Image taken in Abuko Forest in The Gambia.

 

This large arboreal leaf-eating primate is a subspecies of Western Red Colobus. Of the three Western Red Colobus subspecies this and the nominate subspecies are now classified as endangered (IUCN 3.1) whilst the third -Miss Waldron's Red Colobus is critically endangered and may now be extinct.

 

Western Red Colobus are often hunted by Chimpanzees and by Humans (bush-meat). In 1994 many chimps were fatally infected with the deadly Ebola virus contracted from their Western Red Colobus prey and given that chimps and humans share over 96% of their DNA there is a clear risk to humans.

 

There has been a huge explosion in the bushmeat trade in recent years -which includes small antelope and various primates including both the African Great Apes. Independent of the ecological calamity that this is creating there is a real threat that wild non-human primate-based viral diseases will jump the species barrier resulting in new life-threatening human diseases.

Indeed many researchers now believe that the inter-species transfer of a Simian immunodeficiency retrovirus from infected monkeys to humans via bushmeat followed by the subsequent mutation of the virus, is probably what created the Human Immunodeficiency Virus -the cause of AIDS, which is now killing so many poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Framed by a friend.

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Taken on October 15, 2008