An African monkey which was thought to be extinct has been photographed for the first time by two researchers while working in a humid forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Bouvier’s red colobus monkeys were last spotted in the 1970’s. Their population dwindled owing to hunting and logging and it was believed that they have gone extinct. Lieven Devreese, an independent field researcher, along with partner Gael Elie Gnondo Gobolo was searching for the rare creature in Congo’s newly-created Ntokou-Pikounda National Park when they found the species. The park was established in the year 2012 and it is the home to thousands of chimpanzees, elephants, gorillas and other species.
Devreese and Gobolo undertook a journey to photograph the Bouvier’s red colobus and collect information about the distribution of the species. They gathered information about the sounds and behavior of red colobus from local people. Ultimately, the species was spotted in the marsh forest along the Bokiba River. Devreese said “Our photos are the world’s first, and confirm that the species is not extinct.” According to Wildlife Conservative Society, the monkeys are vulnerable to hunting as they have little fear of humans and instead of fleeing away from hunters they stay and gaze at them from trees.
Fiona Maisels, a biologist and expert on Central Africa for the Wildlife Conservation Society mentioned “Thankfully, many of these colobus monkeys live in the recently gazetted national park and are protected from threats such as logging, agriculture and roads, all of which can lead to increased hunting.” The researchers commented “After searching the swamps on the left bank of the Bokiba River for four days, changing camp twice — and just before running out of food, battery and courage — we finally found a group of Bouvier’s red colobus monkeys on Monday.”