Environmental activists have embarked on a march against extermination of primate species in Ghana .
The March organized by the Presbyterian University College, Ghana (PUCG) as part of 16 months project on conservation of endangered Primate Species in three Forest Reserves in Ghana namely, Atewa, Cape three Points and Tano -Off Forest with funding from Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund
The march held in Akyem Kwarbeng, a fringe community of the Atewa Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region witnessed many activists holding placards and share Flyers creating awareness on the need to protect primate species .
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) globally more than half of the World’s Primates are at risk of extinction.Without action these essential closest mammals to human will be annihilated from the world.
The Atewa Forest Reserve used to be a habitat for many primate species but are endangered now due to poaching and destruction of habitats when it is logged or converted into farms or ranches. Road construction, oil and gas extraction, mining, pollution, disease and climate change all add to the list of threats, often in combination.
In December 2017, Scientists discovered a globally threatened White-naped Mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus)in the Atewa Forest. The mangabey, a rare terrestrial monkey, classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Speaking to Daily Heritage, Dr.Edward Wiafe -Dean of Development Studies and Project Coordinator at Presby University College said Primates are essential to tropical rainforests, pollinating trees and dispersing seeds across vital carbon stores hence are ecosystem engineers .
He said apart from these,primates are the closest biological relatives to human hence used in pharmaceutical research.
“primates are very critical to human survival because of the ecological engineering role the play and their importance in medical research.But it is a shame that in Ghana.In fact Ghana is the first country in the world to loose one of the endnagered primates ,Miss Waldron’s red colobus,which is a disgrace ”
Some participants including some chiefs in the fringe communities called on government to resource the Forestry Commission to protect the Atewa Forest and its biodiversity.