Primates are the closet living relatives to humans, and include monkeys, apes, and lorises. At least 12 primate species are found in Cambodia, all of which are threatened with extinction: 3 species are Critically Endangered, 6 are Endangered, and 3 are Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Cambodia is home to the world’s largest known populations of some primate species, including the critically endangered black-shanked douc; potentially more than 90% of all black-shanked douc in the world live in one protected area in the east of Cambodia, Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. This site is also home to the world’s largest known population of southern yellow-cheeked crested gibbons, whose beautiful song carries for kilometers through the forest in the early morning. Several significant populations of another gibbon species, the pileated gibbon, are found in the Northern Plains, most notably in Chhep and Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuaries.
Secretive slow loris also live in these forested sites, moving quietly at night in search of insects to eat.
Primates in Cambodia are threatened by poaching and deforestation. Parts of some species are mistakenly believed to have medicinal value, and sold at a high price by fraudsters to unsuspecting people.
WCS’s landscape approach is designed to protect the large areas of forested habitat that primates need to survive. Protection ranges from working closely with local and indigenous communities, to supporting law enforcement, to biodiversity monitoring to estimate population sizes of key primate species.
The population of the critically endangered black-shanked douc and the endangered yellow-cheeked crested gibbon have remained stable in KSWS since 2010, representing a huge conservation success for such rare and threatened species. Given that KSWS is home to the biggest population of this species, this has a global impact beyond both the protected area and Cambodia nationally.