OSLO - Twenty-five species of humans' closest living relatives - apes, monkeys and lemurs - need urgent protection from extinction, a report by international conservation groups said on Monday.

Many of the primates are under threat from human destruction of forests, from hunting and from illegal wildlife trade.

The study said five of the 25 most endangered primates were from Africa, six from the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, nine from Asia, and five from South America.

"Mankind's closest living relatives...are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures," said the report by groups including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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