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Photos reveal new primate species

NEW YORK (EMBARGOED: NOT FOR RELEASE UNTIL 2:00 P.M. EASTERN TIME THURSDAY, 19 MAY) -- The discovery of Africa's first new species of monkey in over 20 years is described in the current issue of Science. Amazingly, this highly secretive animal was found by two teams working independently in Tanzania more than 230 miles (350 km) apart.

Named the "Highland Mangabey" (Lophocebus kipunji), this long-haired forest primate was first discovered by biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on the flanks of the 10,000 ft (2961 m) volcano Mt. Rungwe and in the adjoining Kitulo National Park.

"This discovery proves that there is still so much to learn about the more remote and less well-known areas of Tanzania, and Africa as a whole. Having been so involved in the creation of the Park, and the conservation of Mt Rungwe, it has been very exciting for us to help reveal more of their secrets," said Dr. Tim Davenport, who directs the WCS Southern Highlands Conservation Program and who led the team of Noah Mpunga, Sophy Machaga and Dr. Daniela De Luca who found the monkey.

Some months later, the same species was independently discovered in Ndundulu Forest Reserve in the Udzungwa Mountains as the result of University of Georgia primatologist Dr. Carolyn Ehardt's research project, which is focused on conservation of the critically endangered Sanje mangabey endemic to these mountains. First sighted by Richard Laizzer and observed by research biologist Trevor Jones, while working as field assistants for the project, the monkey was then identified as a new species by Ehardt and by Dr. Tom Butynski, who directs Conservation International (CI)'s Eastern Africa Biodiversity Hotspots Program. When Ehardt and Davenport became aware in October 2004 of the parallel discoveries in their two projects, the two teams then joined forces to write the article for Science.

"This exciting discovery demonstrates once again how little we know about our closest livi
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
1-718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
19-May-2005


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