Unit # 1
Biology and Ecology
The first unit of the African Primate course studies African Primate biology and ecology and includes information about several case study species. Learn about the difference between “monkey” and “ape”.
Unit # 2
Conservation & Management
This unit of the African Primate Course, explores the conservation threats and strategies concerning the conservation of African Primates. Learn about the successes and failures of conservation case studies of African apes and monkey species.
Primates of Africa Course Level 3
The African Primate course is relevant for working or volunteering with African Primates.
Learn about ecology, conservation, habitats and biology relevant to African Primates.
African Primates Course
Monkeys can be divided into the Old World Monkeys and New World Monkeys, which is primarily a geographic distinction, whereby the Old World Monkeys are found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The most significant distinction to be made within the primates is the difference between “monkeys” and “apes”. However, there are three types of primate, the prosimians, the monkeys and the apes. Prosimians are considered the most primitive of the primates and comprise the Strepsirrhini including the lemurs, galagos and lorises. Prosimians are thought to have evolved around the time of the dinosaurs (approx. 65 million years ago) and are therefore the most ancient living primates. This explains the meaning of their group’s name, which is “before the monkeys”. However, although they are an ancient group, they are not primitive as such but do retain many features of the earliest true primates. For example, they have large eye sockets, a small braincase and elongated snout, which are adaptations for acute hearing and smell. Grooming appears to be an essential part of prosimian life as they have two adaptations, especially for this activity. Prosimians have curious-looking structures on their lower front teeth, which appear comb-like and are used for grooming. Additionally, they have a specialised claw on one toe of their hind feet that is also used for grooming. The African Primate course studies biology, ecology, conservation and management of african primates.
African Primates Face Threat to Survival
There are several categorical threats to primates throughout Africa. Amongst the Great Apes, every species and subspecies is endangered and some are on the brink of extinction. Other primates face similar threats to their survival in the wild. All of these threats result from contact and conflict with human populations. While each one is a distinct threat to the survival of particular species these threats are usually found in combination. For example, logging of the forests leads to human encroachment into gorilla habitats. This results in hunting (for bushmeat, the pet trade or illegal capture and trade). Encroachment of human settlements into gorilla habitat also increases the danger of diseases spreading amongst the resident gorilla populations, since gorillas are affected by human diseases.