Asia News International Via Daily India.com
A New Zealand primatologist has found a previously unknown species of uakari monkey in the remote Amazon, which is already endangered.
According to a report in National Geographic News, Jean-Phillipe Boubli of the University of Auckland found the animal after following native Yanomamo Indians on their hunting trips along the Rio Aracá, a tributary of the Rio Negro in Brazil.
“They told us about this black uakari monkey, which was slightly different to the one we knew from Pico de Neblina National Park, where I’d worked earlier,” said Boubli.
“I searched for that monkey for at least five years. The reason I couldn’t find it was because the place where they were was sort of unexpected,” he added.
Though uakaris normally live in flooded river forests, this one turned up in a mountainous region on the Brazil-Venezuela border, far from its nearest relatives.
Little is known about the creature’s habits, but according to Boubli, it lives in social groups and is likely a seed-eater, based on his observations of other uakaris.
But the newfound ‘Ayres uakari’ is already endangered as it appears confined to a very small area outside any preserve and is hunted by locals.
“We’re going to have to create a park or reserve, because it’s habitat is not a protected area,” said Boubli. “The population is quite small, so they are quite vulnerable. I’m a bit concerned,” he added.
According to Boubli, “It’s very important to define what those monkeys are doing there, how big their range is, because we want to make a case for the Brazilian government to create a reserve.”
“Finding a relatively large monkey as a new species these days is pretty cool. It shows how little we really know about the biodiversity of the Amazon,” he added.