That's A Really Cute Monkey

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You might have thought that the title of this post had nothing to do with monkeys - just like a previous post had nothing to really do with the genetic misfit labradoodle, but really - that's a cute monkey.

Researchers have discovered a new population of one of the world's rarest monkeys in the forests of northern Vietnam, raising slender hopes for the species's survival.

The Tonkin snub nosed money dwindled to the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and hunting by humans - a trend exacerbated by the creature's relatively fearless and inquisitive nature. In the 1980s scientists believed it was extinct.

More recently only 200 were believed to remain and the latest discovery of a new colony of 20 monkeys, including young, offers a glimmer of hope for the species.

"All recent indications suggest that we have a fantastic opportunity to secure this population and significantly increase the chances of survival of this species," said Paul Insua-Cao of Fauna and Flora International, which made the discovery.

"Most significant is all the excitement this has generated locally and the support that is coming from the local Vietnamese government agencies and Caritas Switzerland . With almost half the world's primate species under threat from extinction, we must do everything we can," he added.

The biologists observed that the monkeys were more wary of people, issuing warning signs to each other, suggesting they may be the target of hunters. There is also logging in the area.

"When I saw the Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys ... I was overjoyed," said FFI's Quan Ba, who took the photograph of the creature staring at him.
Read more down at the Telegraph.

And yes - I too want to touch the monkey.