Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 29th, 2008
Found only three years ago in its tiny forest home in Tanzania, a monkey species may soon be extinct.
The kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji and also known as the Highland Mangabey) was discovered in 2005 in the Southern Highlands and Udzungwa Mountains in Tanzania. In 2006, genetic analyses revealed the species represented an entire new genus of primate — the first since 1923.
“The kipunji is hanging on by the thinnest of threads,” said Tim Davenport, Tanzania country director for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). “We must do all we can to safeguard this extremely rare and little understood species while there is still time.”
The WCS has published a census of the endangered primate, revealing 1,117 individuals of the species reside in two isolated forest regions spanning less than 7 square miles (18 square kilometers). The animals live in 38 groups, each with 15 to 39 members.
The forest-dweller sports long whiskers and a crest of hair on the tip of its head. The monkey is known for its unique honk-bark call.
WCS researchers found that much of the monkey’s remaining habitat is severely degraded by illegal logging and land conversion. This loss of habitat along with the monkey being hunted by poachers has WCS scientists worried about the species’ survival.
WCS officials are proposing that that the kipunji be classified by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as “critically endangered,” which means the species is threatened with extinction in the wild if immediate conservation action is not taken.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.