Popa langur: Scientists discover new endangered primate species in Myanmar, with only 260 left

The Popa langur is a kind of monkey with an extended tail, rings round its eyes, and a crest of fur on high of its head. There are only an estimated 200 to 260 left, in line with a information launch by the London Natural History Museum, which collaborated on this research.

The analysis workforce named the Popa langurs after the sacred extinct volcano Mount Popa and labeled them as “critically endangered.”

“Sadly this is a bittersweet discovery due to the limited number of individuals left in the wild and fragmented populations,” mentioned Roberto Portela Miguez, a senior curator on the Natural History Museum, in the discharge.

“The hope is that by giving this species the scientific status and notoriety it merits, there will be even more concerted efforts in protecting this area and the few other remaining populations.”

The scientists, spanning three organizations, revealed their findings on Wednesday in the journal Zoological Research.

In the research, researchers at Fauna and Floral International (FFI) and the German Primate Center (GMC) carried out discipline surveys of the langurs, whose scientific title is “Trachypithecus popa.” They additionally gathered samples and DNA of all different Trachypithecus species — cousins of the Popa langur.

They mixed the information from these surveys and samples, in addition to information from specimens in different museums, verify the existence of the new species, mentioned the information launch.

One of the essential components of the puzzle was a 100-year-old specimen that had been saved on the London Natural History Museum. In the early 20th century, British zoologist Guy C. Shortridge collected hundreds of specimens, together with a 1913 Trachypithecus specimen that the Popa langur workforce re-examined.

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“Monkeys are one of the most iconic groups of mammals, and these specimens have been in the collections for over a hundred years,” said Miguez. “But we didn’t have the tools or the expertise to do this work before.”

There have been different clues that the Popa langur was a completely new species, like variations in its tail size, fur colour, and cranium form — however genetic evaluation confirmed it.

“This study demonstrates that natural history collections are a valuable and key resource for genetic research and in the context of the current biodiversity crisis, they are clearly even more relevant and important today than ever before,” mentioned Miguez.

The Popa langurs have been seemingly as soon as widespread throughout central Myanmar, in line with the research, which analyzed historic data like museum specimens and journey notes — however only just a few teams survived. Now, the remaining people only stay in 4 remoted populations.

Mount Popa is a sacred pilgriimage site, and home to about 100 Popa langurs.

The largest inhabitants is on Mount Popa, residence to greater than 100 langurs. Mount Popa, a sacred pilgrimage website, can be residence to an necessary wildlife sanctuary — however threats stay for the endangered Popa langurs.

“Although Mount Popa is a national park, meaning the species that occur there are legally protected, hunting and deforestation for the timber industry and fuelwood still occur,” mentioned Miguez.

Other threats embrace agricultural encroachment, environmental degradation, and different disturbances to the land like free cattle grazing, said the study.

The research urged worldwide companies just like the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) so as to add the Popa langur to their lists of threatened species.

“Improved protected area management, in particular improved law enforcement … is essential to stabilize the two largest known populations,” mentioned the research. “The forests in Bago Yoma are severely degraded and fragmented, but could still provide the largest, contiguous habitat if deforestation and forest degradation are reversed through improved forest protection and restoration.”

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