New monkey discovered in Tanzania
A NEW SPECIES OF MONKEY IS DISCOVERED IN TANZANIA: THE FIRST IN AFRICA FOR OVER 20 YEARS
WCS Release on mongabay.com
May 19, 2005
Africa's first new species of monkey for over 20 years has been discovered in the remote mountains of southern Tanzania.
The Highland Mangabey. Photo by Dr Tim Davenport.
The Highland Mangabey is the first new monkey species discovered in Africa in more than 20 years. Its natural habitat is threatened by logging, hunting and unmanaged resource extraction. If you are interested in making a contribution to help protect this new species and its unique habitat, please contact Dr. Davenport.
"This discovery proves that there is still much to learn about the more remote and less well-known areas of Tanzania, and Africa as a whole", said Dr Tim Davenport who directs the WCS Southern Highlands Conservation Program, and who led the team of Noah Mpunga, Sophy Machaga and Dr Daniela De Luca who found the monkey. "Having been so involved in the creation of the Park and the conservation of Mt. Rungwe, it has been very exciting for us to help reveal more of their secrets. The real challenge now though, is to try and conserve them," he added.
The new arboreal mangabey is brown, with a head and body length of about 90 cm (3 ft). The monkey occurs as high as 2450 m (8,000 ft) in Kitulo and on Mt Rungwe, where temperatures often fall below freezing; its long coat is probably an adaptation to the cold. The taxonomic name of the species, Lophocebus kipunji, recognizes the monkey's local
The Highland Mangabey. Photo by Dr Tim Davenport.
So how was the monkey discovered? It was during interviews with hunters in early 2003 in villages around Mt Rungwe, that Mpunga first heard rumours about a shy monkey known as Kipunji.
Dr Tim Davenport
Eight months later in July 2004, the same species was also found in Ndundulu Forest in the Udzungwa Mountains by biologist Trevor Jones, while working on a research project for the University of Georgia's Dr Carolyn Ehardt. The project was part-funded by a grant from the WCS Research Fellowship Program. Jones was later joined in Ndundulu by Ehardt and Conservation International (CI)'s Dr Tom Butynski. The two separate teams learned of each other's work in October 2004 and joined forces to write the description in Science.
Highland Mangabey habitat. Montane forest of the Livingstones and Mt Rungwe. Photo: Ben Hayes / WCS.
The Highland Mangabey is characterized by a long, erect crest of hair on its head, elongated cheek whiskers, an off-white belly and tail, and an unusual call termed a honk-bark' by Davenport. Indeed, it was this unique call - recorded in Rungwe-Livinsgtone by the WCS team - which definitively established the mangabey as a new species.
Map of Rungwe-Livinsgtone region.
The threats to the Highland Mangabey are considerable. Logging, hunting and unmanaged resource extraction are common in the Rungwe-Livingstone forests. The narrow forest corridors linking Mt Rungwe to Livingstone, and joining the northern and southern sections of Livingstone are all degraded. Without intervention these forests will be fragmented, resulting in isolated subpopulations of the mangabey. Indeed, the easternmost animals are probably already isolated.
Saving Highland Mangabey habitat: the WCS Kipunji FundIn order to help protect the critically endangered' Highland Mangabey, the Wildlife Conservation Society has set up the WCS Kipunji Fund. For more information on how you can support this work, please contact or . You can also contribute through this link.
The WCS Southern Highlands Conservation ProgramThe Southern Highlands Conservation Program (SHCP) was started by WCS in 2000 to conserve important upland habitats and species across southwest Tanzania. The Highlands lie between Lakes Nyasa/Malawi and Tanganyika on the junction of the eastern and western arms of the Great Rift Valley. Sites of particular interest are plateau grasslands, montane forests and crater lakes including Kitulo Plateau, Mt Rungwe, Livingstone Mts, Mbisi, Mporoto and Mbeya Range.
The Livingstone escarpment within Kitulo National Park viewed
from the summit of Mt Rungwe. Photo: Noah Mpunga / WCS
The Poroto Three-horned Chameleon (Chamaeleo fuelleborni) is
one of the rarest chameleons on the continent, globally restricted to
just four sites in Tanzania's Southern
Highlands. Reaching a length of 22 cm, the males of this arboreal
species are highly territorial, using their horns to fight for
females. They give birth to as many as 15 live young (Photo (c) Tim
Davenport / WCS)
Bustani ya Mungu - God's garden. Satyrium and Habenaria orchids
on Kitulo Plateau. Photo: Tim Davenport / WCS
The WCS Southern Rift ProgramThe Southern Rift Program is a new regional initiative building on current WCS projects including the Southern Highlands Conservation Program (SHCP) in Tanzania and the Mt Mulanje Biodiversity & Monitoring Project in southern Malawi. Conservation work in the Mozambique Mts and the Nyika National Park in northern Malawi are being planned. Regarded biologically as globally outstanding', the Southern (or Nyasa) Rift begins at the junction of the Eastern and Western (Albertine) Rifts in southwest Tanzania. It extends southward through Malawi and central Mozambique.
Through the management of these projects and the development of additional ones, the Southern Rift Program aims to assist in the conservation of important habitats and species across the region.
You can learn more about the Highland Mangabey and the WCS Southern Highlands Conservation Program at kipunji.org and the Wildlife Conservation Society at wcs.org.
You can help protect the Highland Mangabey and its unique habitat, by contacting Dr. Davenport or using this link.
Dr. Davenport has granted mongabay.com the use of these pictures. You will need to contact him about running these pictures on other sites.