The future for a large primate in a tiny patch of African forest looks bleak. Just three years after it was discovered, Tanzania’s kipunji monkey is threatened with extinction … researchers conducted more than 2,800 hours of fieldwork in the Southern Highlands and Udzungwa Mountains in Tanzania, where the kipunji was discovered. The team tallied just 1,117 individuals, and found that the monkey’s range is restricted to 6.82 square miles of forest in two isolated regions.
The authors also discovered that illegal logging and land conversion has severely degraded much of the monkey’s remaining habitat. In addition, poachers target the monkey for bushmeat. Because of these combined threats, WCS proposes that the kipunji should be classified by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as “critically endangered.” This designation indicates a species threatened with extinction in the wild if immediate conservation action is not taken.
“The kipunji is hanging on by the thinnest of threads,” said Dr. Tim Davenport, Tanzania country director for WCS. “We must do all we can to safeguard this extremely rare and little understood species while there is still time.”
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