The Popa langur is a kind of monkey with an extended tail, rings round its eyes, and a crest of fur on prime of its head. There are solely an estimated 200 to 260 left, in keeping with a information launch by the London Pure Historical past Museum, which collaborated on this examine.
The analysis staff named the Popa langurs after the sacred extinct volcano Mount Popa and categorised them as “critically endangered.”
“Sadly it is a bittersweet discovery as a result of restricted variety of people left within the wild and fragmented populations,” stated Roberto Portela Miguez, a senior curator on the Pure Historical past Museum, within the launch.
“The hope is that by giving this species the scientific standing and notoriety it deserves, there will probably be much more concerted efforts in defending this space and the few different remaining populations.”
Within the examine, researchers at Fauna and Floral Worldwide (FFI) and the German Primate Middle (GMC) carried out area surveys of the langurs, whose scientific title is “Trachypithecus popa.” In addition they gathered samples and DNA of all different Trachypithecus species — cousins of the Popa langur.
They mixed the information from these surveys and samples, in addition to information from specimens in different museums, affirm the existence of the brand new species, stated the information launch.
One of many essential elements of the puzzle was a 100-year-old specimen that had been saved on the London Pure Historical past Museum. Within the early twentieth century, British zoologist Man C. Shortridge collected 1000’s of specimens, together with a 1913 Trachypithecus specimen that the Popa langur staff re-examined.
There have been different clues that the Popa langur was a completely new species, like variations in its tail size, fur coloration, and cranium form — however genetic evaluation confirmed it.
“This examine demonstrates that pure historical past collections are a priceless and key useful resource for genetic analysis and within the context of the present biodiversity disaster, they’re clearly much more related and essential right this moment than ever earlier than,” stated Miguez.
The Popa langurs had been seemingly as soon as widespread throughout central Myanmar, in keeping with the examine, which analyzed historic information like museum specimens and journey notes — however just a few teams survived. Now, the remaining people solely stay in 4 remoted populations.
The biggest inhabitants is on Mount Popa, house to greater than 100 langurs. Mount Popa, a sacred pilgrimage website, can also be house to an essential wildlife sanctuary — however threats stay for the endangered Popa langurs.
“Though Mount Popa is a nationwide park, which means the species that happen there are legally protected, looking and deforestation for the timber business and fuelwood nonetheless happen,” stated Miguez.
The examine urged worldwide companies just like the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species (CITES) so as to add the Popa langur to their lists of threatened species.
“Improved protected space administration, specifically improved regulation enforcement … is crucial to stabilize the 2 largest identified populations,” stated the examine. “The forests in Bago Yoma are severely degraded and fragmented, however may nonetheless present the biggest, contiguous habitat if deforestation and forest degradation are reversed by improved forest safety and restoration.”