Scientists have identified a new primate species that lives in the forests of central Myanmar. Details about the langurs, which were immediately named an endangered species, were reported by the journal Zoological Research.
Popa langur is named after an extinct volcano, home to the largest population of primates – about 100 individuals.
Scientists have found that this species has existed for at least a million years.
But with only 200 to 250 individuals left in the wild today, experts recommend classifying Popa langur as “endangered.”
“The Popa langur just described is already on the brink of extinction,” senior study author Frank Momberg, a researcher with Flora & Fauna International (FFI) in Yangon, confirmed in an interview with AFP. According to him, the new species is threatened by hunters and loss of habitat.
The first evidence of a new species was found not in the wild, but in the back rooms of the London Museum of Natural History. Genetic analysis of fecal samples helped scientists identify the new species of primates. They were collected over a century ago, when Myanmar was Burma, a British colony.
“More protective measures and field research are urgently needed to save the langurs from extinction,” said Ngwe Luin, a primatologist with the FFI program in Myanmar.
Now there are more than 20 species of langurs in the world, some of them are also on the verge of extinction.