I've had to keep very quiet about this for the past few weeks, but today the American Journal of Primatology announces the discovery of a new species of primate, the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri).
© Martin Aveling/Fauna & Flora International
The research that led to this exciting discovery was carried out by the Myanmar Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA), and supported by an international team of primatologists from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRFC). The new monkey was named in honour of John Styker, President and Founder of the Arcus Foundation, who supported the project. As there are currently no images of a living specimen, I was commissioned to produce this illustration for identification purposes. As far as I know, it is the first ever drawing of this new species of monkey.
Sightings of the monkey have been reported from the eastern Himalayas to the north-eastern Kachin state, and it is believed that there are between 260-330 individuals, making it critically endangered. Although the species is new to science, the local people know it well, claiming it's actually quite easy to spot when it rains, because its upturned nose often fills up with water, causing it to sneeze!
Together with their partner organisations, FFI are taking immediate action to safeguard the survival of this important new species.