Bamboo-eating Bale monkeys could still be saved from extinction | 5/15/2018 | Staff
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There are fewer than 10,000 surviving Bale monkeys in Ethiopia, and they prefer to eat only bamboo – but the bamboo forests are shrinking, and local farmers harass or kill monkeys when they try to eat cultivated foods. This part sounds like a recipe for a species at high risk, but new research shows that the Bale monkeys can still be saved from extinction.

The Bale monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) is an arboreal and enigmatic primate species that lives exclusively in a region of approximately 12,500 square kilometers in the southern Ethiopian Highlands. Bale monkeys are listed as a Vulnerable species in theIUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species; this means that the species is at high risk of extinction in the wild.

Bale - Monkey - Habitat - Bamboo - Areas

The Bale monkey's natural habitat is the dense bamboo forest that previously covered large areas in the southern Ethiopian Highlands. Bale monkeys prefer to eat the young leaves and shoots of the highland bamboo (Arundinaria alpina), which accounts for 77 per cent of the diet in dense bamboo forests and makes this primate unusual.

"This specialized diet allows the Bale monkeys to be compared to the Chinese panda and bamboo lemurs of Madagascar, which are also bamboo specialists", says Addisu Mekonnen at the Department of Biosciences and Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo (UiO).

Dense - Bamboo - Forests - Terrain - Ethiopia

The dense bamboo forests and mountainous terrain in Ethiopia have for millennia provided as a home for Bale monkeys. However, the bamboo forests are shrinking due to agricultural land expansion and logging of bamboo, associated with the ever increasing human populations. In addition, bamboo is a versatile material that can be used to produce things like furniture, fences, floors and even entire cabins.

"The extensive harvest of bamboo has led to the disappearance of the continuous bamboo forests...
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