January 20, 2012
‘Extinct’ Monkey Found In Borneo
[ Watch the Video ]
Scientists report that they have rediscovered a species of primate in Borneo that was believed to be extinct or on the verge of extinction.
The team has confirmed that Miller's Grizzled Langur, or Presbytis hosei canicrus, still exists and lives in an area where it was previously not known to inhabit.
"Concern that the species may have gone extinct was first raised in 2004, and a search for the monkey during another expedition in 2008 supported the assertion that the situation was dire," Brent Loken, from Simon Fraser University in Canada, said in a press release.
Miller's Grizzled Langur was found in a small corner of Borneo's north east, and its habitat has suffered from fires, human encroachment and conversion of land for agriculture and mining.
The scientists relocated the endangered animals to Wehea Forest in East Kalimantan, Borneo, which is 146 square miles of undisturbed rainforest.
Wehea contains at least nine known species of primate, including the Bornean orangutan and gibbon.
"Discovery of P.h canicrus was a surprise since Wehea Forest lies outside of this monkey's known range," Loken said. "Future research will focus on estimating the population density for P.h. canicrus in Wehea and the surrounding forest."
Researchers set up camera traps in several locations to confirm that Miller's Grizzled Langur continues to survive in areas west of its previously recorded geographic range.
The monkey once roamed in northeastern part of Borneo, as well as the islands of Sumatra and Lava and the Thailand Malay peninsula.
Photos taken by the scientists provide the first solid evidence that the primate's geographic range extends further than previously thought.
"It was a challenge to confirm our finding as there are so few pictures of this monkey available for study," said Loken. "The only description of Miller's Grizzled Langur came from museum specimens. Our photographs from Wehea are some of the only pictures that we have of this monkey."
"While our finding confirms the monkey still exists in East Kalimantan, there is a good chance that it remains one of the world's most endangered primates," concluded Loken. "I believe it is a race against time to protect many species in Borneo."
The next step for the scientists is to return to the forest they relocated the primates in to find out how many grizzly langurs are still there.
The scientists' findings were published in the American Journal of Primatology.
Image Caption: Brent Loken, a PhD student in SFU's resource and environmental management program, discovered a rare monkey in the Bornean rainforest last June that many thought was extinct. Credit: Brent Loken, Simon Fraser University ( More Images )
On the Net: