Conservation International announced yesterday the discovery of a new species of Titi Monkey in Colombia.
The delight in the discovery is also tinged with concern, however, as scientists believe that the destruction of their natural forest habitat has placed them in extreme danger of extinction.
The Callicebus caquetensis was first observed in the area more than 30 years ago by a visiting animal behaviorist, but violence in the region – near Colombia’s borders with Ecuador and Peru, prevented further research until 2008.
An expedition led by researchers from the University of Colombia, used GPS to map out the locations of the monkeys, who can be identified by a unique call which they use to mark their territory. Once the location of these primates was confirmed, the group made visual sightings to confirm that this was indeed a unique species. Unlike other species of Callicebus, they do not have a distinctive white bar on their foreheads, although they do have the typical red beard and long tail.
These primates are noted for their monogamy. Males and females typically remain together for life and can often be seen together on branches with their tails entwined. They normally have a single baby each year, which prompts them to force the oldest child in the family to move on. Families of four are typical.
The research was led by Dr Thomas Defler and funded by Conservation International as part of its Primate Action Fund. It is significant that this new species has been discovered because it demonstrates that there is still undiscovered wildlife in these remote regions. It also makes it even more vital for world leaders, meeting later this year for the Convention on Biological Diversity, to make more areas protected to ensure the survival of rare species.
Find out more about the project at the Conservation International blog.
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