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New endangered wildlife species discovered in the Tofala forest

New endangered wildlife species discovered in the Tofala forest

[one_third][/one_third]A team of Researchers working for the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF) have spotted another rare wildlife species the Preuss’s Monkey (Cercopithecus preussi), in the Tofala forest, Lebialem Highlands. This was on August 18 during bio-montoring of great apes trip with two Volunteers Christopher and Claire from United kingdom and France respectively. The Preuss’s Monkey (Cercopithecus preussi) is a white-fur moustached monkey. It was spotted at 10:30a.m while it was feeding in the forest. This species has cheek pouches to carry food while it forages and on this day, these pouches were almost full. Preuss’s Monkey (Cercopithecus preussi), also known as Preuss’s Guenon, is a diurnal primate that lives terrestrially in mountainous forests up to 2500 metres of Eastern Nigeria, Western Cameroon and Bioko in Equatorial Guinea. This species’ population size and distribution have been severely affected by habitat destruction and hunting. For example, Cameroon’s forests have been severely eroded by cultivation, fire and collection of wood for fuel. As a result, little montane forest remains in the mainland part of this species’ range. This species is also highly susceptible to human predation because it is semi-terrestrial and relatively large-bodied, and hunting has led to a decline in its population across its range. It is listed as Endangered given that, it is believed to have undergone a decline exceeding 50% over the past 27 years across its restricted range, mainly as a result of increasing habitat loss in the Nigeria/ Cameroon Highlands and also from hunting. Recognized as the most endangered guenon in the Limbe Wildlife Centre, the preuss’s monkey was formerly known to occur only in the Okwangwo Division of Cross River National Park and on the adjacent Obudu Plateau (Nigeria), Pico Basile National Park and the Southern Highlands Scientific Reserve (Bioko), and in the Takamanda Forest Reserve, Ibo Forest, and Banyang-Mbo Forest (Cameroon) which has been proposed for elevated protection status. Surveys of the status and distribution across its range are needed. None of the montane forest areas of the Cameroon highlands, the most important remaining habitat for this species of which Tofala is now part, are formally protected. There is therefore need for a strong conservation action to protect these species.

By Asoh Bedwin

Photo Courtesy J.S. Gartlan (taken at Korup National Park, Cameroon)

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