A species of monkey previously thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in the Congo basin.
Credit: Lieven Devreese
Cool Earth’s Lubutu project is in the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It’s an infamous place, plagued with conflict, displacement and deforestation that decimates the habitat of its most enigmatic residents, the primates.
But there are glimmers of hope. We’ve trained 45 local people in GPS and plotted 600,000 acres of community forest. And there’s another brilliant piece of good news from the Congo basin too.
Bouvier’s red colobus was declared extinct in the early 80s. Hunting for its meat (which wasn’t eaten by locals but rather shipped to the big cities for rich businessmen to eat), spelled the end of these beautiful primates.
That is, it spelled the end for most of them. Because last month, a team led by young Belgian researcher, Lieven Devreese, not only found a family of Bouvier’s red colobus, but managed to photograph them too. Liven said, “Our photos are the world’s first and confirm that the species is not extinct,”
His assistant Gnodo Gobolo knew that the best people to help them find the monkeys were local people: “We asked them to name and describe all monkeys they know and checked their reliability by testing their knowledge of vocalizations of different monkey species in the Congo Basin.”
It’s Cool Earth’s hope that by empowering local people to protect their rainforest, more discoveries like this can be made, and species like Bouvier’s red Colobus can thrive.