Hopes raised for Kenyan monkeys
One of the De Brazza's monkeys
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Universal Music, out October 30th, 2007.
Tuesday, 30, Oct 2007 04:10
A new group of a rare monkey species has been found in Kenya, boosting its numbers by 16 per cent.
Conservationists estimate there to be 1,000 of the De Brazza's monkeys in Kenya, who can be spotted by their white beards.
Although large populations of the monkey live in central Africa their numbers are low and under huge pressure from factors including poaching and deforestation, according to Wildlife Direct.
The new habitat for the species was found in northern Kenya in one of the last intact indigenous forest ranges. A total of 162 of the monkeys were found in the area.
Until now De Brazza's monkeys were not known to exist east of the Great Rift Valley.
Wildlife groups have welcomed the news, particularly in light of a recent report which warned that 25 primate species are at risk of extinction.
"For the first time in Kenya we have a population that is stable and not under serious threat," said Iregi Mwenja, who has been studying De Brazza's monkeys in Kenya for the past four years.
"Given that habitat loss one of the biggest threats to species, finding a new habitat is a tremendous bonus and reminds us just how important every aspect of an ecosystem is."
Dr Richard Leakey added: "This latest discovery really underlines our ignorance of changes in the landscape over a relatively short period of time. The De Brazza's must have had a wet forest corridor from western Kenya across the Rift Valley to this new locality.
"It is a critical issue for study as it puts climate change again as the most critical consideration as we plan for the future."