Abstract # 13289 Event # 114:

Scheduled for Friday, August 23, 2019 08:45 AM-09:45 AM: (Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium) Keynote Address


K. B. Strier
Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
     Habitat loss and hunting pressures have long been identified as major global threats to primates, but climate change has brought other alarming and even less tractable threats into focus. Increases in the frequency of extreme weather events not only alter remaining habitats and essential food and water resources, but also exacerbate the spread and virulence of zoonotic diseases such as the yellow fever outbreak that recently swept through the Atlantic forest region of southeastern Brazil. Confirmed and suspected disease-related mortality from this outbreak drastically reduced the viability of many primate populations, and some were extinguished entirely. The high mortality may have been compounded by the timing of the outbreak, which occurred during the 2016-2017 rainy season following a record-breaking drought in 2014 and 2015 that stressed wild populations. The extinction risks from disease and other environmental stresses are particularly steep for small populations confined to fragmented habitats because of their limited opportunities for recruitment and recovery. Nonetheless, long-term data from wild northern muriquis (Brachyteles hypoxanthus) and other endangered primates are providing new insights into the implications of demographic and behavioral flexibility for the ability of primates to adapt to new risks from climate change. These data, combined with ongoing monitoring efforts, also highlight the importance of integrating knowledge from captive and wild studies into dynamic conservation and management plans for endangered and critically endangered species.