Scientists working in the Republic of Congo caught the red colobus monkey on camera for the first time ever. It was previously thought to be extinct due to the fact that it had not been spotted for so many years. Researchers found a group of red colobus along the Bokiba River, assisted by locals who were familiar with its vocalizations and behavior, writes Carol Bailey for Uncover Michigan.
Red colobus monkey: Not extinct after all
Funds for the expedition were raised using a combination of the crowdfunding website Indiegogo and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). “The small primate lives in groups in swampy forests along the Congo River, in the Republic of the Congo. Hunting and logging decimated its population, leading some scientists to suggest the monkey was extinct,” wrote the WCS. According to reports, the team has since returned with the first ever photo of a red colobus mother and infant.
“Thankfully, many of these red colobus monkeys live in the recently gazetted national park and are protected from threats such as logging, agriculture, and roads, all of which can lead to increased hunting”, said Dr. Fiona Maisels from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
The photo proves that the red colobus has managed to survive, and researchers have also managed to collect previously unattainable photographic evidence. Scientists did not manage to take photos, or even encounter, any red colobus during previous expeditions in 2007 and 2014 in the Ntokou-Pikounda National Park.
Behavioral quirk leads to reduced population
Unfortunately, the red colobus monkey does not run away from humans, but instead watches them from the treetops. The habit means that they are easy prey for hunters, and their numbers have drastically reduced as a result. The photograph proves that a rare primate has not been completely lost, and continues to live in areas of the Congo.
The success of the expedition is a rare bright spot in the otherwise gloomy world of conservation, with various factors leading to the decline of endangered species. Hopefully the remaining red colobus monkeys can survive and thrive in order to prevent the loss of another rare primate.