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World largest colony of endangered monkeys found in Vietnam

endangered monkeys found in vietnam 45
Scientists say they have found the world’s largest known population of an endangered monkey species in central Vietnam. Surveys since 2005 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Conservation International have recorded at least 116 tree-dwelling, grey-shanked doucs, which are one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates. Like many primate species in Vietnam, their populations have been devastated by hunting and to a lesser degree by habitat loss.

Scientists believe fewer than 1,000 such monkeys exist in five central provinces of Vietnam – Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, and Gia Lai. They had previously seen only one other colony of more than 100 animals. The gray-shanked doucs, or Pygathrix cinerea, was first described in 1997.

They are colobine monkeys with faces that look as if they have been painted orange and cream, with black hands and tufts of gray on their heads. They spend much of their time in treetops, subsisting on fruits and leaves.

A WWF survey team first discovered the new douc population in August 2005 while studying the region for possible establishment of a new protected area. Two recent joint surveys in adjacent areas involving scientists from WWF’s Greater Mekong Program and Conservation International’s Indo-Burma Office revealed the significance of the find.

The scientists have surveyed just a small section of Quang Nam Province so there is definitely a possibility that more endangered monkeys lurk in these elusive forests.

Image credit: National Geographic

Source: The Independent

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