When PhD student Brent Loken ventured into the Borneo rainforest with a camera in hand, he was hoping to catch a rare glimpse of the clouded leopard. Instead, he rediscovered a monkey that many believed extinct, or at least on the verge of extinction.
Loken and his fellow researchers were puzzled when they reviewed the time-lapse photos taken by the camera trap they’d set up – there was an animal they didn’t recognize captured in the stills. That animal turned out to be Miller’s grizzled langur, a rare and obscure primate found only in Borneo. Ultimately, they had to identify the monkey using descriptions from museum specimens and old photographs.
Speaking to Science Daily about his find, Loken said, “Finding Miller’s grizzled langur in a forest outside of its known geographic range highlights how much we don’t know about even the basic ecology of this monkey. We need more scientists doing research in Borneo to help us learn about understudied species such as Miller’s grizzled langur and clouded leopards. The rapid degradation of Borneo’s forests makes it difficult to learn about and adopt conservation strategies in time to protect species.”
Loken talks about his discovery in the video below:
The camera traps were set up as part of a larger study into the biodiversity of the island. Loken is collaborating with the indigenous Wehea Dayak people to help fight against the deforestation of the land. Palm oil plantations and coal mines have stripped the island of a staggering 65% of its rainforest, threatening rare species like Miller’s grizzled langur, which exists nowhere else in the world. You can find out more about Loken’s efforts and donate to the cause at Ethical Expeditions.
You can view more pictures of the grizzled langur at Simon Fraser University’s website.
Photo by: SFU Public Affairs and Media Relations