Secret population of endangered Dryas monkeys captured in rare video

February 6, 2017, 11:55 a.m.
critically endangered Dryas monkey
Photo: Pablo Ayali/Lukuru Foundation

A new population of Dryas monkeys — which are thought to be nearing extinction — has been discovered in the Congo, thanks to hidden camera traps.

"Field teams from the Lukuru Foundation TL2 Project discovered it near the border of the Lomami National Park when they noticed a dead monkey with a local hunter," reports Florida Atlantic University, the team behind the rare video footage and the first university in the United States to conduct primate field research in this park, which lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "They later confirmed it to be a Dryas monkey, known locally as Inoko. First discovered in 1932 and believed to be nearing extinction due to its small population size and unregulated hunting, this species has perplexed scientists for decades because of its elusive nature."

About the size of a house cat, these little monkeys are tough to track down. By scaling tall trees and installing cameras, the team was able to capture rare footage of these elusive animals.

The cameras are important for understanding the behavior and movement of Dryas monkeys, of course, but the are also capturing footage of other species such as bonobo and African palm civets. The footage also helps to underscore how important national parks really are to the preservation of endangered species.

You can see the monkey footage in the video below: