New Species of Sneezing Monkey Found in Asia

October 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Trail Boss News

(Oct. 27) — Deep in the jungles of Myanmar, scientists have discovered a new species of monkey in an unfortunate predicament: Its nostrils are turned upward, so that whenever it rains, they fill up with water and cause the monkey to sneeze.The black, furry creature lives around the Maw River in the Southeast Asian country’s northeast corner. It has white tufts of fur on its ears and a white beard on its chin. Scientists have named the new species Rhinopithecus strykeri, but locals know it as “monkey with an upturned face” in their language. Foreign primatologists joined local conservationists searching for the rare monkey after hunters reported seeing an animal with prominent lips and wide, upturned nostrils — a description not known for any other animal.  “While the species is new to science, the local people know it well and claim that it is very easy to find when it is raining because the monkeys often get rainwater in their upturned noses, causing them to sneeze,” a spokeswoman for Fauna & Flora International, a British-based charity that helped discover the monkey, told the Cambridge News. “To avoid this, they spend rainy days sitting with their heads tucked between their knees.”

There are believed to be between only 260 and 330 of the rare snub-nosed monkeys in existence, living in just a 270-square-kilometer (170-square-mile) area, FFI said on its website. That would classify the new species as endangered already.

News of its discovery also comes as research presented today at the U.N. Biodiversity Summit in Japan shows that a fifth of the world’s animals face possible extinction. The main reason is because their natural habitats are threatened by humans’ expansion of cities and towns, and commercial interests.     In the case of the new snub-nosed monkey, its habitat is at risk of being wiped away by the logging industry. It is also hunted for food by local people.

“If we can convince local people to stop hunting the snub-nosed monkey through creating local pride, develop community-based patrolling and monitoring, and provide alternative sources of livelihoods for forest-dependent communities, we can save [it] from extinction,” FFI’s Asia-Pacific director, Frank Momberg, told the BBC.

Other similar species of monkeys with upturned noses have been sighted in China and Vietnam, but this is the first time they’ve been seen in Myanmar, which was formerly known as Burma. Via AOL



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