Humans, the Great Apes, gibbons, Old and New World monkeys, lemurs, loris & allies, and tarsiers make up the scientific Order Primates. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) recognizes over 600 species of primates, of which approximately half are threatened with extinction.
Primates are mammals characterized by large brains, the use of their hands, tree climbing abilities and variable methods of locomotion, a high level of social interaction, and complex behaviors. Non-human primates are primarily found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
The orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee, and bonobo are considered the “Great Apes’. The bonobo is the smallest of the group, the gorilla the largest. Unfortunately Great Apes are under assault from various threats and all are listed as endangered or critically endangered. Threats include hunting for bushmeat, loss of habitat, conflict with humans in Central Africa, disease, and the illegal pet trade.