Primate Conservation: A Matter of Life or Death
Conservation Programs of the
American Society of Primatologists
"Whether endangered animals
will survive to enrich life on earth
or perish forever is largely in
human hands. We will be
progressively poorer for every
primate species that disappears
from our planet"
You can help
"More than 60 primate species are at risk of extinction, and an additional 80 continue to decline at an alarming rate. Sitting apathetically on the sidelines while the existence of such advanced beings is threatened is worse than lamentable, it is unconscionable"
The American Society of Primatologists champions the well-being and conservation of non-human primates, our closest biological cousins.
A pygmy chimpanzee taught to communicate by touching symbols on a keyboard illustrates how uncannily human primates can be. On occasion, he played at hiding a make-believe food item instead of a real one. Later, when he supposedly found the imagined food, he sometimes pretended that is was bad by spitting it out and using the keyboard to say "bad."
The American Society of Primatologists (ASP) works to save primate lives and to arrest
the terrifying shrinkage of primate populations worldwide
As the premier organization in the United States for primate scientists, ASP holds annual meetings to exchange up-to-date scientific, conservation, and other information, sponsors the American Journal of Primatology, and raises funds for four kinds of awards:
- Subscription Awards
The American Journal of Primatology carries articles in all areas of primatology, from details of basic biology to behavior in the wild. Journal Subscriptions are awarded to worthy individuals from habitat countries -- countries with native primates -- where little access to primate information is available. A recent subscription award went to a Nepalese professor who is trying to raise consciousness about ecological concerns.
The Nepal Award is the only journal of primatology in the country
Although relatively inexpensive by our standards, such awards can have a very significant impact. The journal costs nearly as much as the annual salary of a Nepalese professor.
- Conservation Small Grants
In the past, one to four small grants of $500 were awarded each year for research, education, or emergency projects. The number and size of these grants needs to be increased. They can be add-ons to ongoing projects.
Small Grants are especially meaningful for individuals or communities in primate habitat countries
An example is an add-on grant for a joint US/Columbia project in which the plight of the beautiful and endangered cotton-top tamarin is used to raise community conservation awareness. High school students are trained in the field biology of a Colombian nature reserve and then lead groups of young children on educational tours of the reserve.
An emergency grant was given to defuse a
plan to kill supposedly destructive macaque monkeys
Authorities delayed action while scientists determined if the monkeys were damaging valuable trees.
- Conservation Award
The purpose of this $500 award is encouragement for the conservation efforts of outstanding students, young investigators and educators in habitat countries.
Conservation awards go to the future conservation
leadership of countries where primates live
Conservation Awards are presented in public ceremonies to impress upon indigenous people the importance of preserving the ecological conditions of animal survival. Curators of the Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza, Madagascar, were presented the Award by the American Ambassador at a well-attended ceremony, and its conservation message was given valuable press and television coverage.
- Senior Biology and Conservation Award
Ensuring the well-being and survival of primates takes skills and dedication from people serving in many capacities, such as field assistance, research facilitators, animal caretakers, park rangers, and administrators.
A $500 honorarium is awarded annually to an outstanding individual without a postgraduate degree who has a long and respected history devoted to primate well-being or conservation
Honoring such individuals encourages others to follow in their footsteps. One award recipient played a central role in the establishment and operation of major primate breeding centers in the Amazon basin. The award was presented by the Scientific Counselor of the American Embassy who noted that the awardee's work improved public support of primate conservation by impressing upon legislators and administrators the national-resource value of their country's animal life.
Past Award Winners
Cost-Effective, Grass-Roots Conservation
Conservation education is a high priority of ASP: education that permeates entire habitat-country communities and becomes favorably known to the country's scientific, business, and political leadership, thereby multiplying the effectiveness of small amounts of money by many orders of magnitude.
The ASP Conservation Committee operates very cost-effectively
Aside from a few indirect costs, all monies received go directly into a fund that finances awards and grants. Administrative support, communications, and selection of award winners are done by ASP members as a service to conservation. The Society can contact members already working in habitat countries and encourage them to add a conservation dimension to existing projects. Such add-ons are a bargain because they support conservation research and education by committed professionals without having to pay for international or domestic travel, subsistence, equipment, site development, site operations, etc.
ASP has the organization, built-in contacts, and expert volunteers to achieve primate conservation very inexpensively at a grass-roots level
You Can Help
Contributions to primate conservation can be made via the Conservation Fund of ASP. Society members contribute thousands of dollars to the fund each year, but ASP needs additional contributions from other concerned individuals, businesses, and institutions if we are to expand our conservation efforts.
Because most primates depend upon forest resources, successful primate conservation will simultaneously preserve many other forest creatures, as well as the plant life that feeds and protects them
Please donate on-line to the ASP Primate Conservation Fund or download the contribution form and send your donation by mail.
Please make your check payable to:
ASP Conservation Fund
and send to
Dr. Janette Wallis, Chair
ASP Conservation Committee
Department of Anthropology
University of Oklahoma
455 West Lindsey - Dale Hall 521
Norman, OK 73019-0535, USA
Contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowable.
American Society of Primatologists is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Contributors of $500 or more will be listed in the ASP Bulletin
Modified: 23 October 2007