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A New Species of Monkey is Discovered in Tanzania: The First in Africa for More Than 20 Years

ardt and Davenport became aware in October 2004 of the parallel discoveries in their two projects, the two teams then joined forces to write the article for Science.

“This exciting discovery demonstrates once again how little we know about our closest living relatives, the nonhuman primates," said Russell A. Mittermeier, who chairs the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN-The World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission. ``A large, striking monkey in a country of considerable wildlife research over the last century has been hidden right under our noses."

The new arboreal mangabey is brown, with a head and body length of about 3 ft (90 cm). It is characterized by a long, erect crest of hair on its head, elongated cheek whiskers, an off-white belly and tail, and an unusual call, termed a 'honk-bark' by the authors. The monkeys occur as high as 8,000 ft (2450 m) where temperatures frequently drop below freezing; its long coat is probably an adaptation to the cold. The taxonomic name of the species, Lophocebus kipunji, recognizes the monkey’s local Kinyakyusa name (pronounced kip-oon-jee) used by a few hunters around Mt. Rungwe. The highland mangabey is extremely rare and critically endangered, with an estimated total population of between 500 and 1,000 animals. Also noted by Davenport, the Southern Highlands forests, including those of Mt Rungwe and Kitulo, are severely degraded by illegal logging, and without prompt action the animal’s future is in jeopardy.

On the other hand, the Ndundulu Forest Reserve is in good condition, but there is concern that the population of the highland mangabey in this forest is very small and limited in distribution. Ehardt observes that, “With the addition of another threatened species of primate to those species previously documented, the Udzungwa Mountains are arguably the most important site in Africa for primate conservation. The Udzungwas remain a focus for conservation ecology research, as should
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Source:Saving Wildlife News


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