Kipunji drawing: National Science Foundation
Unknown to science until three years ago, the Kipunji—a three-foot tall, grayish brown monkey with a long tail and a black face which lives in the Southern Highlands and Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania—has a population of slightly more than 1,000 individuals. According to the World Conservation Union the primate should be now classified as "critically endangered". This means that the animals is likely to go extinct in the wild if immediate conservation action is not taken.
The cause of the monkeys' decline, and perhaps demise? Habitat loss due to illegal logging and land conversion, as well as poaching. Currently the animal's habitat is confined to two isolated forest regions totaling 6.82 square miles.
When the kipunji's DNA was analyzed in 2006, it was shown that it was the first entirely new primate genus to discovered since 1923.
Science Daily quotes Dr Tim Davenport of the Wildlife Conservation Society, "The kipunji is hanging on by the thinnest of threads. We must do all we can to safeguard this extremely rare and little understood species while there is still time."
If a three-foot tall monkey can be discovered in 2005 and is threatened with extinction only three years later, how many other species has humanity steamrollered over, ignorant of their existence, their place within local ecosystems? It's times like this that John Gray's suggestion that humanity should be renamed home rapiens seems most apt.
via :: Science Daily
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