Friday, September 23, 2011

Proboscis monkey survives by a nose

VISITORS to Borneo come face to face with a monkey that has to be seen to be believed.

The endangered proboscis monkey is very hard to keep in captivity, so most people have never seen one in real life - unless they have been to the island.

The big-nosed monkeys live alongside orang-utans and are facing much the same threats, such as land clearing for palm oil plantations. Tourism can also disrupt the monkeys' natural social behaviour, feeding and breeding.

Dr Heather Leasor, of the Australian National University, studied threats to the proboscis monkey population for her PhD.

"I just find them fascinating, their social interactions with each other, their odd faces, the group dynamics," she said. "They are quite charismatic. Not everybody thinks so. They think they look odd and weird. But I think they're majestic and beautiful too."

She compared her observations of monkeys in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounds with those recorded by other researchers more than a decade earlier, before tourism and palm oil plantations took off.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Proboscis monkey survives by a nose

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