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Burmese monkey: assumed extinct, caught on film

To scientists' surprise, this creature still exists in Burma's war-torn jungles
Burmese monkey 2012Enlarge
This rare motion-sensor camera snapshot of a snub-nosed Burmese monkey, assumed extinct, was circulated by the group Flora and Fauna International. (FFI/BANCA/PRCF/Screengrab)

Snub nosed and, in this photo at least, spectral in appearance, this Burmese monkey is still eeking out an existence in Burma's northern jungles.

That's a surprise to scientists, according to New Scientist's Web site.

They'd assumed the creature (Rhinopithecus Strykeri) was extinct. The only evidence of its existence, the magazine reports, was a dead snub-nosed monkey captured by a hunter in 2010.

Researchers suspect there are only 300 or so left in the wild.

Most observers, myself included, have dwelled on how the recent opening up of Burma (officially called Myanmar) will affect politics and culture. (Our series Burma Rebooted, reported from inside the reculsive country, is here.)

But Burma is also rife with jungles seen only by Burmese military patrols and armed ethnic groups defending their turf. If the conflicts are settled -- and the government is promising they will be -- that could open up Burma's forests to researchers previously held back by state-imposed travel restrictions and ethnic warfare.

Are more undiscovered or assumed-to-be-extinct creatures roaming Burma's distant jungles?

We can only hope the researchers get there before the loggers do.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/burmese-monkey-endangered-species