Two teams of researchers working hundreds of miles apart have discovered a new species of monkey in Tanzania.
The highland mangabey is a medium-sized monkey, about 3 feet tall with a long tail and long brown fur. Its face, hands and feet are black. Adults make a distinctive, loud, low-pitched “honk-bark” call. They live in mountainside trees at elevations as high as 8,000 feet.
Fewer than 1,000 of the animals live in the highland forest, the researchers reported in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. Hunters had described the animals, but no scientist had identified them.
It is the first new species of monkey identified in 20 years.
The monkey, scientifically named Lophocebus kipunji, will probably be classified as a critically endangered species.
The teams urged including the Ndundulu Forest in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park to provide a safe habitat for the highland mangabey.
“This exciting discovery demonstrates once again how little we know about our closest living relatives, the nonhuman primates,” said Russell Mittermeier, chairman of the Primate Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union’s Species Survival Commission.
“A large, striking monkey in a country of considerable wildlife research over the last century has been hidden right under our noses,” he said.