International Monkey Day 2015

International Monkey Day 2015

Posted by Connor Whelan on Dec 16, 2015

The 14th of December every year plays host to International Monkey Day, and whilst the unofficial holiday is mainly focused on Monkeys, it also celebrates other non-human primates such as apes and Lemurs.

International Money Day has unusual origins as in 2000 the day was created after an artist scribbled Monkey Day on a friends calendar! Since then the day has grown and evolved into something much bigger. The aim of International Monkey Day is to raise awareness of all things primate (including apes even though the name would lead you to believe otherwise!) and the problems they are facing in our ever changing world.

The last comprehensive review into the world of primates found that out of the 634 different types on Earth, almost 50% of them are in danger of going extinct (according to the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.) The main threats to the animals are habitat destruction due to forest clearing for farmland, the hunting of primates for food, and a longstanding illegal pet trade. The Chairman of the IUCN Species Survival Commission for Primates, Russell A. Mittermeier said: “Tropical forest destruction has always been the main cause, but now it appears that hunting is just as serious a threat in some areas, even where the habitat is still quite intact. In many places primates are quite literally being eaten to extinction.”

In some places such as Vietnam and Cambodia approximately 90% off all primate species are at risk of extinction, and this has led Jean-Christophe Vie, Deputy Head of the ICUN Species programme to say: “What is happening in South-East Asia is terrifying. To have a group of animals under such a high level of threat is, quite frankly, unlike anything we have recorded amongst any other group of species to date.”

Elsewhere in the world other primates are also struggling to survive. In Africa everything from huge Mountain Gorillas to tiny Mouse Lemurs are facing new problems on a daily basis. “Among the African species, the Great Apes such as Gorillas and Bonobos have always tended to grab the attention, and even though they are deeply threatened, it is smaller primates such as the Red Colobus that could die out first,” said IPS President Richard Wrangham.

The review brought to the forefront of the publics thinking the extreme struggles primates are facing all around the world. International Monkey Days aim is to use information such as this to create change for the animals which can’t speak up for themselves. You can help to make a difference through a variety of methods. You can raise awareness by sharing this post or creating your own, you can volunteer with the animals in the land that they call home (find out more here,) or you could even donate directly to a charity of your choice. A change needs to be made and it needs to be made now. Let’s use International Monkey Day to do this.

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