New monkey found in Myanmar near China dam project

Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:50pm EDT
 
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By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - A new type of snub-nosed monkey has been found in a remote forested region of northern Myanmar which is under threat from logging and a Chinese dam project, scientists said Wednesday.

They said hunters in Myanmar's Kachin state said the long-tailed black monkey, with white-tufted ears and a white beard, could often be tracked in the rain because its upturned nostrils made it prone to sneezing when water dripped in.

"It's new to science. It's unusual to travel to a remote area and discover a monkey that looks unlike any other in the world," Thomas Geissmann, lead author of the study at the University of Zurich-Irchel, told Reuters.

Studies of a carcass and four skulls showed the monkey differed from snub-nosed monkeys in China and Vietnam. The experts had no photos of a live Myanmar monkey.

The scientists estimated there were between 260 and 330 of the monkeys living in an area of about 270 sq km (100 sq miles) and believed the species to be critically endangered.

"The hunting pressure is likely to increase considerably in the next few years as new dam construction and logging roads invade" the monkeys' habitat, they wrote in the American Journal of Primatology.

IN CHINESE HANDS

"The future of the snub-nosed monkey lies in Chinese hands," said Frank Momberg, of Fauna and Flora International and a co-author of the study. Monkeys were hunted for meat or fur and their body parts were used in traditional medicines in China.   Continued...

 
<p>A new type of snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri) is seen in this undated handout of an artist rendering released on October 26, 2010. A new type of snub-nosed monkey has been found in a remote forested region of northern Myanmar which is under threat from logging and a Chinese dam project, scientists said on Wednesday. They said hunters in Myanmar's Kachin state said the long-tailed black monkey, with white-tufted ears and a white beard, could often be tracked in the rain because its upturned nostrils made it prone to sneezing when water dripped in. REUTERS/Dr Thomas Geissmann/Fauna &amp; Flora International/Handout</p>