Tuesday, October 08, 2002

OUR SPECIES PUSHING MANY OTHERS TO EXTINCTION

Great apes fall victim in headlong drive to mass extinction
By ALANNA MITCHELL EARTH SCIENCES REPORTER

Every single species and subspecies of great ape on the planet now teeters on the edge of dying out, part of the acceleration of the dinosaur-style mass extinction now under way.

In all, 11,167 species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction...

Also grave is the situation of the 13 species and subspecies of great apes: chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.

Apes are genetically the most similar to humans, making up -- with humans -- the taxonomic family Hominidae. The new findings mean that humans are the only species in the family that are not endangered.

Primates have been vaulted into danger of extinction only in the past three decades as their tropical forest homes have fallen to loggers, Dr. Mittermeier said. Before that, they were plentiful.

The IUCN's Mr. Steiner said he is optimistic that humans, the cause of the problem, can also come up with a solution....