Advocacy and Activism as Essential Tools in Primate Conservation

Paul A. Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Primates are facing a global extinction crisis driven by an expanding human population, environmental degradation, the conversion of tropical forests into monocultures for industrial agriculture and cattle ranching, unsustainable resource extraction, hunting, climate change, and the threat of emerging zoonotic diseases. And, although many primate scientists have dedicated their careers to conservation, 65% of primate species are listed as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered, and >75% are experiencing a population decline. Projections indicate that by the end of the century, an additional 75% of the area currently occupied by wild primates will be lost to agriculture. Clearly, we are losing the battle and must change business-as-usual if we are to protect wild primates and their habitats. This article is a call to action. Primate societies and their membership need to expand their engagement in scientific advocacy and scientific activism designed to educate, inspire, organize, and mobilize global citizens to join together, lobby business leaders and politicians in both primate habitat countries and in consumer nations, boycott forest-risk products, participate in demonstrations and letter writing campaigns, and use social media to effect transformational change. We are the experts, and the more we and our professional organizations drive the public policy debate on wildlife conservation and environmental justice, the more successful we will be in protecting the world’s primates from extinction. The time to act is now!

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168–184
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Environmental justice
  • Primate extinction crisis
  • Scientific activism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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