This is both good and bad news: researchers have discovered a new species of monkey in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the latter is already threatened with extinction, as few individuals have been discovered in the wild.
Monkey found in DNA from 100-year-old specimen
Scientists have identified a new species of monkeys in Myanmar (Burma) using a 100-year-old tissue sample. The primate – named Popa langur according to extinct Mount Popa volcano – accomplished the feat of hiding in plain sight in central Myanmar, conservation organization said Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in a statement. This is also the organization and researchers of the German Primate Center Deutsches Primatenzentrum who discovered the animal.
It is interesting to know that the Popa langur is added to the twenty species of Semnopithecus in the world. The majority of these species are in danger of extinction, and the discovery of more than half of them is fairly recent, reported The Guardian. Living in rather isolated corners, many of them have been identified thanks to genetic analyzes carried out on specimens kept at the museum. It was also after analyzing the DNA of a specimen at the Natural History Museum in London that the Popa langur was identified, the museum announced in a statement.
In an article published in the journal Zoological Research, the newly discovered animal is a small sign that measures between 50 and 60 centimeters for a weight of about eight kilograms. The Popa langur is characterized by a dark brown or gray-brown back, with a strongly contrasting gray or whitish abdomen and black hands and feet. The monkey is also distinguished by the white circles around its eyes. Extremely agile, the primate feeds mainly on leaves. Field studies will still be carried out to learn more about this still little known species.
An animal barely identified and already in danger of extinction
If the discovery of this new species is excellent news, it is however accompanied by a sad observation. In total, scientists have identified only four isolated populations of the species, bringing together a total of between 200 and 250 individuals. This makes the Popa langur an endangered species. ” I just described it and the Popa langur is already threatened with extinction Said Frank Momberg, lead author of the study and researcher at FFI. The main threats to the little monkey include habitat loss and hunting.
Faced with the threats to the animal, the scientists who participated in the study noted that it was urgent to ensure the protection of the species. ” Protecting the remaining population and engaging with local communities as well as private sector stakeholders is absolutely essential to safeguard its future Frank Momberg told BBC News. The study notably urged international agencies – such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – to add Popa langur to their lists of ‘threatened species, CNN reported.