Scientists working in the fragmenting forests of Indonesian Borneo recently discovered a species long thought lost to the world forever: a monkey so rare and so imperiled many had considered it to be extinct. But with the help of some motion-sensing camera traps set up on the island, researchers who had hoped to capture images of rare leopards and orangutans ended up finding something no one had expected to see and a species never before photographed -- Miller's grizzled langurs.
The extremely elusive primates had first been documented 25 years ago, but were only recorded on film just months ago, and by accident, reports Bikya Misr:
Camera traps set up by the team of scientists meant to capture images of clouded leopards, orangutans and other wildlife, captured instead pictures that caught them all by surprise. The groups of monkeys in the photographs had never been seen by the scientists, and it was a challenge to confirm the species, as stated by Brent Loken, a PhD student at Simon Fraser University in Canada, and one of the lead researchers.
The only images that had ever been available of the monkeys were museum sketches.
Like many species living on the island of Borneo, Miller's grizzled langurs have been threatened for decades from poaching and the loss of their habitat due to slash and burn agriculture. Their unexpected rediscovery, however, is inspiring conservationists with hope that not only these primates, but perhaps other imperiled animals on Borneo would benefit from added protections -- lest they truly disappear from the roster of existant species.
“For me the discovery of this monkey is representative of so many species in Indonesia,” said Loken. “There are so many animals we know so little about and their home ranges are disappearing so quickly. It feels like a lot of these animals are going to quickly enter extinction.”