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Scientists find endangered grey-shanked doucs in Vietnam

Tam Ky, Quang Nam, Vietnam A team of scientists from WWF and Conservation International (CI) has discovered the worlds largest known population of grey-shanked doucs (Pygathrix cinerea), increasing chances that the endangered monkey can be saved from extinction.

The grey-shanked douc is one of the worlds 25 most endangered primates and has only been recorded in the five central Vietnamese provinces of Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, and Gia Lai. Fewer than 1,000 individuals are believed to still exist, and until now, only one other population with more than 100 animals was known.

This is an exciting and important discovery because of the large size of the population, said Barney Long, Central Truong Son Conservation Landscape Coordinator for WWF Greater Mekong Vietnam Program. Its very rare to discover a population of this size with such high numbers in a small area, especially for a species on the brink of extinction. This indicates that the population has not been impacted by hunting like all other known populations of the species.

Recent surveys in Que Phuoc Commune in Quang Nam Province recorded at least 116 animals (the number of individuals observed), with an estimated population of over 180 individuals. To date, only a small part of the area has been surveyed, meaning significantly more doucs may live in the adjacent forest.

To put it into a human perspective, this discovery is like finding a new country with over 1 billion people in it, said Ben Rawson, a Regional Wildlife Biologist for CIs Indo-Burma Program. We now have a much greater opportunity to overcome the very serious threats faced by this species and prevent its disappearance from our planet.

Grey-shanked doucs, first described in 1997, are tree-dwelling colobine monkeys with orange faces and tufts of whiskers. Like many primate species in Vietnam, they face an uncertain future due to hunting and habitat loss. A 2006 IUCN assessme
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Contact: Tom Cohen
tcohen@conservation.org
703-341-2729
Conservation International
2-Jul-2007


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