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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Arunachal: India’s newest mammal ‘White-Cheeked Macaque’ found by scientists 

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The scientists have reported the discovery of ‘White-Cheeked Macaque‘ (Macaca leucogenys) in the remote Anjaw district in central Arunachal Pradesh. 

The discovery has marked a new inclusion to the list of mammal species in the country. 

Newest mammal found in Arunachal:

newest mammal
Newest species of mammal discovered by scientist.

The scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) by Mukesh Thakur were searching for red pandas and Arunachal Macaques in central Arunachal Pradesh. However, the discovery of the White-Cheeked Macaque happened all of a sudden when the team unknowingly collected a few faecal samples, which on DNA analysis ended up to be White-Cheeked Macaques.

One of the students from the team named Avijit Ghosh was tracking the Arunachal macaque when he collected faecal and skin samples of the macaque.

Publication:

The discovery has been published in the February 3 issue of international peer-reviewed journal ‘Animal Gene’. Along with White-Cheeked Macaques and Arunachal Macaque the other species of Macaques are Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis) and Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) reported from the same landscape.With this, India’s mammal count stands at 438. 

An amount of Rs. 10 crore was granted to study Himalayan species including exploring biodiversity of the Himalayas and studying large threatened species.

Initial discovery:

The Macaque was initially discovered in China in 2015. It is to be noted that the place where the White-Cheeked Macaque has been discovered is barely 200 km aerial distance from where it was first spotted in China, in Modog in Southeastern Tibet.

About White-Cheeked Macaque:

The White-Cheeked Macaques are different from the other macaques due to their white cheeks. Besides, they have a longer tail, long and thick hairs in the neck area. It has not yet been included in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The major threat to the species is hunting, habitat degradation, infrastructure development and consumption by the locals.

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