Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Discovered, the unfortunate monkey with a misshapen nose which makes it sneeze when it rains


Oddity: The snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus strykeri, has upturned nostrils which collect rain and is pictured in this computer-generated image

A new species of monkey with an unfortunate infliction caused by the shape of its face has been discovered in the forests of northern Burma.

The snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus strykeri, has upturned nostrils that fill with water when it rains, making the creature sneeze.

Although new to science, local people living near its habitat say the monkeys are easy to spot in rainy weather.

To avoid sneezing, the animals spend days sitting with their heads tucked between their knees.

R. strykeri is known as 'mey nwoah' - 'monkey with an upturned face' - in the local language.

The black-furred monkey is believed to live in a confined area around the Maw River in Kachin State, north-eastern Burma, now renamed Myanmar.

Around 260 to 330 individuals are thought to inhabit a distribution area of just 270 square kilometres.

As a result, the animal is officially classified as 'critically endangered' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

An international team of biologists and primatologists made the discovery early this year after following up reports of sightings by local hunters.

The monkeys are believed to spend the summer months between May and October at higher altitudes in mixed temperate forests.

In winter, when snowfall makes food scarcer, they descend closer to human settlements.

Artist's impression: Just 330 individuals are thought to exist i a small area of jungle in Myanmar

Mark Rose, chief executive of the conservation group Fauna & Flora International, whose experts helped to locate the monkey, said: 'We are committed to taking immediate conservation action to safeguard the survival of this important new species, together with our partners and local communities in Myanmar.'

Species of snub-nosed monkey are found in parts of China and Vietnam, and all are considered endangered.

Until now no species have been reported in Burma.

The new species is threatened by the construction of logging roads through its habitat by Chinese companies.

source: dailymail

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