International Primate Day Date in the current year: September 1, 2024

International Primate Day International Primate Day is celebrated annually on September 1. It was created to raise awareness of the world’s primates, support primate conservation efforts, and end the use of primates in research.

Primates are a diverse order of mammals that includes between 376 and 524 extant species, depending on which classification is used. Primates are divided into two suborders: Strepsirrhini (galagos, lemurs, lorises and pottos) and Haplorhini (tarsiers and higher primates – monkeys and apes, including humans). The natural range of non-human primates encompasses tropical and subtropical regions of the Old and New Worlds (Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia).

Due to their physiological and psychological similarity to humans, non-human primates (NHPs) are extensively used in research. They are used as model organisms in labs; experiments on NHPs include pre-clinical trials, toxicity testing, studies of various infections, neurological studies, ophthalmic studies, behavioral and cognitive research, genetic research, and xenotransplantation research. NHPs have also been used in space missions so that scientists could investigate the biological effects of spaceflight.

Of all animal species used in research, primates are the most likely to be re-used in experiments. Even though many governments have strict care requirements of non-human primates living in captivity and used in research, animal rights groups have been campaigning to end the use of primates in experiments.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, about 60% of primate species are threatened with extinction, and more than a third of all primates are classified as vulnerable or critically endangered. The main threats faced by primate species include habitat destruction and fragmentation, monkey drives (operations where wild monkeys are killed in large quantities to protect crops), and primate hunting for food, for use in medicines, as pets, and for use in entertainment.

International Primate Day was created in 2005 by Animal Defenders International (ADI), an international animal advocacy organization with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Latin America, and South Africa. It was launched shortly after the signing of the Berlin Declaration calling for a global commitment to end experiments on primates. Originally signed by the ADI and 25 other animal welfare groups, the declaration has now been signed by more than 70 organizations and academics, representing nearly 2 million people around the globe.

On the occasion of International Primate Day, animal welfare organizations and other stakeholders across the world hold awareness events to educate the general public about the strife of primates and spur conservation efforts. You can get involved by learning more about the dangers primates face, checking out primates at your local zoo, donating to or volunteering for a primate advocacy nonprofit, pledging to stop using products that have been tested on animals, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #InternationalPrimateDay.

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International Primate Day, international observances, environmental observances, Animal Defenders International, primate advocacy