A scientific expedition in the Colombian Amazon has discovered a new titi monkey species, the Callicebus caquetensis or Caquetá titi monkeys, Conservation International announced. This exciting news "is tinged with concern as researchers from the National University of Colombia who discovered the new primate consider it to be critically endangered due to rapid loss of the forest where it lives and its small population," Conservation International's press release stated.
"This discovery is extremely exciting because we had heard about this animal, but for a long time we could not confirm if it was different from other titis. We now know that this is a unique species, and it shows the rich diversity of life that is still to be discovered in the Amazon," said Dr. Thomas Defler. Defler along with Dr. Marta Beuno and student Javier Garcia made the discovery. The research was funded by funded by Conservation International's Primate Action Fund and the Iniciativa de Especies Amenazadas of Conservation International Colombia.
For many years the Caquetá area of Colombia was impossible to travel to due to insurgent groups and violence. When the fighting subsided three years ago, Garcia, who is a native of Caquetá, was able to discover this new species by listening to their complex calls.
Click to listen to their calls.
It is estimated that less than 250 Caquetá titi monkeys exist, while a healthy population of these monogamous monkeys should be in the thousands. "This discovery is particularly important because it reminds us that we should celebrate the diversity of earth but also we must take action now to preserve it," said José Vicente Rodríguez, head of science at Conservation International in Colombia and president of the Colombia Association of Zoology.
Also see Conservation International lost amphibians campaign.