Red Colobus Monkey Defies Extinction…For Now

Despite the growing trend in extinction rates, hunting animals continues to be a popular activity. Many argue that hunting promotes conservation, however, the rapidly decreasing population sizes of animals everywhere refutes this idea. While many species are on the chopping block, this article, Monkey Hunting Could Drive This Species Extinct, focuses on the alarming loss of the red colobus monkey. The loud noises it makes allows for the species to be a prime and easy to locate target for hunters. Demand for these monkeys has increased due to the growth of the bush meat trade, an industry that relies on animals such as monkeys, porcupines, and rats for their meat. While bush meat may not sound appealing to those with even the strongest stomachs, a new trend in many African nations has caused people to embrace the bush meat industry. As time goes on and animal species become more vulnerable, eating wild animal meat has become a symbol of status and wealth. While many animals are at risk due to this growing fad, the red colobus monkey is severely threatened due to the species’ slow reproduction rates. As African cities continue to urbanize and develop, more people will infiltrate into the culture, contributing further to the endangerment of the monkey species.

Procolobus kirkii
Red Colobus Monkey (Procolobus kirkii) in Jozani Forest, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Photo courtesy

Janie Actman, author of the article, serves as a wildlife research for National Geographic’s Special Investigation Unit. Her skills and experience in this field cause her to be a credible source on the topic of species endangerment. The article’s appearance in National Geographic emphasizes how extreme the issue is since it is put on a large platform where it can reach a wide number of viewers. To further establish credibility, the author cites viable source including scientists with the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, Drew Cronin, a conservation biologist at Drexel University, and John Fa, an ecologist at Manchester Metropolitan University. By including each sources background and expertise on the issue, Actman is able to provide reliable facts to the audience. These expert opinions strengthen the author’s argument and serve as solid evidence to support the presented claims.

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Photo courtesy

In order to convey the grave dangers that the red colobus monkey population is currently facing, Actman shares facts and statistics concerning the dwindling numbers of the species. The author depends the most on the use of logos due to the fact that the issue follows the declining trend of species’ populations and the money that hunting these animals generates. For example, the author reports “hunters can rake in $2,000 a year selling their meat, while 77 percent of the country lives on less than $750 a year” (Actman). This claim provides a sense of reasoning as to why the animals are hunted. In a society where income is minimal and the standard of living is low, methods for earning money are scarce. While hunting may appear to be inhumane and somewhat primitive, the former statistic proves that it may be necessary in terms of sustainability. On the other hand, Actman acknowledges hunting’s impact on monkey populations claiming that the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program surveyed the meat market and found that “about 35,000 monkey carcasses for sale between 1997 and 2010. In other words, about seven primates were killed every day to stock the market in Malabo” (Actman). This fact emphasizes the ongoing loss of monkeys and draws attention away from the opposing economic side. The logic and reasoning the author provides contributes to the validity of Actman’s argument and provides further perspective into the endangerment of species.

For a topic surrounding the death of animals, this article used surprisingly few emotional appeals. Aside from including photos of the red colobus monkey, Actman did not craft words or phrases that pulled at readers’ heartstrings. Rather than focusing on the devastating nature of this topic, the author chose to concentrate more heavily on the use of facts, statistics, and credible sources. In my opinion, Actman’s argument would have been more effective if emotional appeals were used. When an issue is accompanied by negative effects, it is important to capitalize on the drama and sadness. Doing so causes the audience to connect with and relate more to your view on the issue and ultimately strengthens the argument.

Overall, I believe that the article was effective in conveying the ongoing decrease in the population of the red colobus monkey. By referring to trustworthy sources and including facts backed by evidence, Actman was able to establish a strong argument that acknowledges the declining presence of the monkey population. However, I think that if emotional appeals were included, the author could have gained even more support. In addition, strong emotional appeals can cause readers to want to engage in action. This idea of action is important because in order to put a stop to the hunting of these primates, immediate action and participation is necessary. By embracing change in cultures and advocating for those that can’t speak for themselves, the endangerment of animal species due to hunting can be hindered.


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