Tuesday, 11 June 2013

First photo of a baby Kipunji - Africa’s rarest monkey?

Kipunji baby photo
June 2013. Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society of New York have taken a photo of a Critically Endangered baby kipunji monkey, possibly the first photo of a baby.

Photo credit Tim Davenport/WCS

Africa's rarest monkey, the Kipunji, was discovered in 2003 and recognised as a completely new genus in 2006. The monkey lives in a protected forest on Tanzania's Mt. Rungwe that Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) helped create in 2005. 

Mother lost arm in a snare
The baby is part of a habituated group that the WCS has been following for the past four years. Its mother lost its hand and lower arm in a snare before the forest was safeguarded, but she can obviously care properly for her new baby according to the researchers following it. With only 1,100 animals in total, the species is listed as Critically Endangered. Every birth makes a difference.

Much of the monkey's remaining habitat is severely degraded by illegal logging and land conversion, and, in addition, the monkey itself is the target of poachers.

The monkey is brown, with 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 the scientists who first described it. It stands about 3 feet tall (90 cm). The monkeys occur as high as 8,000 ft (2450 m) where temperatures frequently drop below freezing; its long coat is probably an adaptation to the cold. 

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