Scientist once considered Bouvier’s red colobus monkey as sub-species of the pennant’s colobus monkey endemic to Central Africa, but now it is believed to be a separate species found in the Republic of Congo’s forest.
It is more than half century and no specimen has been seen, but independent researchers Lieven Devreese and Gael Elie Gnondo Gobolo went on a trip to the Ntokou-Pikounda National Park where they have photographed the monkey.
“Our photos are the world’s first and confirm that the species is not extinct,” Devreese said.
The researchers have discovered a whole group of the monkey living in swamp forest the parks abuts the Bokiba River.
The researchers with the help of the locals and knowledge of wild life discovered the monkeys.
Dr. Fiona Maisels, an ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society said, “We’re very pleased indeed that Lieven and Gael were able to achieve their objective of not only confirming that Bouvier’s red colobus still exists, but also managing to get a very clear close-up picture of a mother and infant, thankfully, many of these colobus monkeys live in the recently gazetted national park and are protected from threats such as logging, agriculture, and roads, all of which can lead to increased hunting.”
The monkeys were known only by the specimens in the museum which were collected more than a century ago.
They were first discovered in 1887, no photograph evidence existed of the monkey only reports of sightings were made.
Researchers are now planning to study the rare species.
Red colobus monkeys, are endangers in their native habitat as they don’t have fear for humans making them vulnerable to hunting.
James Deutsch, vice president of conservation strategy at WCS , “Confirmation that Bouvier’s red colobus still thrives in the this area reminds us that there remain substantially intact wild places on Earth, and should re-energize all of us to save them before it is too late.”