A critically Endangered species of monkey has been unexpectedly found in north-western Vietnam. Biologists from Fauna and Flora International said they had found new sub-population of up to 20 Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in a remote forest. Until now, fewer than 250 of the primates were thought to exist.
The team said the new group offered a ray of hope because it included three infants, suggesting that the monkeys were breeding and increasing in number. Until now, the monkeys had only been recorded in a few north-eastern areas within Vietnam, with no group exceeding 50 mature adults.
Hunting and deforestation has led to a continued decline in the species. The species inquisitive nature also meant that they did not flee when approached by humans, increasing the risk of being shot by hunters. Biologists however observed this new sub-population were more wary of people, issuing warning signs to each other, perhaps associating humans with danger, as a result of ongoing threats from hunters.
“All recent indications suggest that we have a fantastic opportunity to secure this population and significantly increase the chances of survival of this species,” explained Paul Insua-Cao, FFI’s Vietnam primate program manager. Measures including curbing the growing of crops in the area’s tropical forests and confiscating hunters’ guns have already been introduced since the new sub-population was first recorded in April 2008.