Palm oil plants trigger mortality in macaque babies

Palm oil is present in countless foods we buy in the supermarket, and obtaining this product necessary deforesting large areas forest view. The environmental consequences are huge. For example, palm oil crops in southern Malaysia are killing baby macaques. Exposure to chemicals, repeated visits from humans, and lack of protection from predators have become a deadly mix for children. Special, Infant mortality rate triples in southern pig-tailed macaques (Nemestrona macaca) and the survival of the species is put at risk.

This is according to a recently published study Current Biology, This warns not only about the direct damage these changes are causing to the landscape, but also about the long-term danger to species.

It is known that Large area is required to ensure viability of these cropsThis has led to their intense exploitation destroying part of the tropical forest where these animals live.

Areas deforested for palm oil plantation ibtimes


The species has been extirpated into areas adjacent to these plantations, but this does not mean that primates have stopped entering these areas. In the fields in Malaysia, it is already easy to see children and adults taking advantage of the current situation to gather food more easily near crops. But, What becomes a source of survival for adults is a death trap for babies.

57% of calves born in the region in the last 10 years have diedAnd they did this before they were even a year old. This high mortality rate, revealed in a study in which many international research centers participated, reveals that macaques die much more than other species.

Between 2014 and 2023, researchers studied two groups of macaques living in an area covered by both rainforest and oil palm plants. After nearly a decade of monitoring, They saw how 52 of the 92 calves born during the research period died before reaching the age of one.. The average mortality rate was 66% in group 1 and 44% in group 2. However, in some years the situation was so critical that all the cubs died.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Nadine Ruppert, coordinator of the field study, explains: “It is very likely that macaque babies fell victim to wild dogs roaming in packs among crops, or were captured by humans and sold illegally as pets.”

Species are greatly affected by these crops animal chat


Possible role of pesticides

But be aware that there are other risks that are often overlooked because their direct effects are not so visible: for example, “We have little understanding of the potential long-term effects of pesticides used to manage monocultures.”

Actually, Pesticides may play an important role in the mothers themselves. “Some harmful substances used in agriculture can cross the placental membrane and pass to the fetus,” says Anna Holzner, the main author of the paper, and warns that there are “some fat-soluble molecules that can also be transferred through breast milk.” .”

“As a result, the longer the chemicals accumulate in the mother’s body, the more chemicals can accumulate. Affects fetal development during pregnancy and also during breastfeeding“, To add.

Given these findings, the researchers discussed the urgent need to address these threats of anthropogenic origin. “We know that Pesticide use in agriculture has caused a drastic decline in insect populationsTherefore, chemical analysis is essential to understand the effects of pesticides on mammals,” insists Anja Widdig, one of the authors of the paper.

“Our findings underscore the critical need to implement environmentally friendly growing practices that will minimize risks to wildlife populations, as well as to people living near the fields,” he concludes.

Link to the study: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(23)01657-3

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Contact address of the environmental department:krisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

Source: Informacion

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