New species: White Cheeked Macaque found in Anjaw, West Kameng

Naharlagun, Apr 02: Arunachal Pradesh has already made a distinct place for itself as the “Botanical Paradise of India”, where at this point, almost everyday a new species of flora and fauna is discovered and it’s no surprise. 

In yet another such feat, recently scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of mammal in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh. We are talking about the White Cheeked Macaque, the newest addition to the list of primate species found in the Indian sub-continent. The only other time it’s existence was reported first happened in Southern Tibet, just seven years back in 2015. There had been no other reports of its discovery anywhere in the world so far, until only a month back in Anjaw.

Now, not many days after its discovery in Anjaw, our team has captured a White Cheeked Macaque in one of our cameras during a routined camera trap exercise here in Bishum Phudung, Dirang in West Kameng district. The animal has distinct facial features that differentiates it from other macaques, specifically white cheeks (whiskers), long and thick haired on the neck. They happen to live in the same biodiversity areas as the other macaques. This is an exceptional discovery given how rare it is and how little we know about it. 

Thus, without wasting much time, the immediate need of the hour is to carry out a detailed, in-depth scientific study of the animal. Our team will push forward this work on our own end, as best as we can. One other animal that is almost as rare and elusive that we have captured on our camera traps, is the Marbled Cat, and in good numbers. This indicates the prospects of a wide scale scientific study in the area.  

By Chukhu Loma

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