Meet the New Monkey
Scientists have discovered a new monkey in Brazil. The tiny mammal is about the size of a squirrel. It weighs seven-and-a-half ounces and is only nine inches tall. The mini-monkey's fur is mostly gray and brown. It has a spotted back that looks like a saddle and a very long tail.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported the monkey discovery. The group says that encountering new types of mammals is quite rare.
"We keep finding new types of plants, insects, and butterflies," said Avecita Chicchón, an official with the WCS. “But it is more and more difficult to find newer types of mammals."
Scientists found the little monkey in the rain forests located in the Brazilian state of Amazonas (am-uh-ZOH-nuhs). The little monkey has been named Mura's saddleback tamarin. Scientists named it after the Mura Indian tribe, whose members also live in the rain forests of Brazil.
Already in Danger?
Scientists aren't yet sure how many saddleback tamarins make their homes in the area. But they may have to do their work fast.
The tamarins' habitat is shrinking due to deforestation. Deforestation happens when trees are cut down and land is cleared for building projects.
Conservationists, or people who work to protect natural resources, are alarmed about the effects of deforestation on Brazilian rain forests. They are most concerned about a huge highway that cuts through the area where the tiny monkeys were discovered. There are also plans to build two dams and a gas pipeline in the same region.
The shrinking natural habitat threatens more than just the tamarins. Scientists believe this area is rich with undiscovered plants and animals. As the rain forest disappears, so will the wildlife that lives in it.
"These [building projects] are a significant threat to wildlife that are not even [known and] documented," Chicchón said. She and others from the WCS want developers to more carefully examine the environmental costs of their building projects.
"This newly described monkey shows that even today, there are still major wildlife discoveries to be made," said Fabio Röhe, who led the team that found the new tamarin. "This discovery should serve as a wake-up call that there is still much to learn from the world's wild places."
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