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White Cheeked Macaque: India’s Newest Mammal

India’s Newest Mammal: White Cheeked Macaque

The Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have found a new mammal species in the country — the White Cheeked Macaque (Macaca leucogenys).

  • While the species was first discovered in China in 2015, its existence was not known in India before this.
  • It is only now that Indian scientists have discovered its presence in the remote Anjaw district in central Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The latest discovery takes India’s mammal count from 437 to 438.
  • The White Cheeked Macaque has distinct white cheeks, long and thick hair on the neck and a longer tail than other Macaque species.
  • It is the last mammal to have been discovered in Southeast Asia.
  • Both the Arunachal macaque as well as the White Cheeked Macaque exist in the same biodiversity hotspot in the eastern Himalayas.
  • Along with White-Cheeked Macaques and Arunachal Macaque (Macaca munzala) the other species of Macaques are Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis) and Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) reported from the same landscape.
  • The potential threat to all species of macaques in the landscape are due to hunting by locals for consumption and habitat degradation due to urbanisation and infrastructure development.
  • This species is not covered by the Wildlife Protection Act of India, because till now it is not known that the species existed in India.