Proboscis monkeys are endemic to the jungles of Borneo, never straying far from the island’s rivers, coastal mangroves, and swamps. They are a highly arboreal species and will venture onto land only occasionally to search for food. They live in organized harem groups consisting of a dominant male and two to seven females and their offspring. Various groups often congregate near water at night to sleep.
Unfortunately, Borneo’s most threatened landscapes are home to these highly specialized primates. The rampant clearing of the region’s rain forests for timber, settlement, and oil palm plantations has depleted huge tracts of their habitat. The fragmentation of the monkeys’ range means they are being forced to descend from the trees more frequently and often must travel perilously long distances to find food. Their land predators include jaguars and some native peoples who consider proboscis monkey a delicacy.
Over the last 40 years, proboscis monkey populations have plummeted. They are currently protected from hunting or capture in Borneo.
It may seem hard to believe, but male proboscis monkeys use their fleshy, pendulous noses to attract mates. Scientists think these outsize organs create an echo chamber that amplifies the monkey’s call, impressing females and intimidating rival males. Sounds good to us!
Thank you to National Geogrpahic for providing the information about the Proboscis Monkey.
This week, because we are all dreaming of cooler weather, our featured endangered species of the week is a Snow Leopard. Snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Their white-gray coat spotted with large black rosettes blends in perfectly with the steep and rocky mountains of Central Asia.
The snow leopard’s powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Its hind legs give the snow leopard the ability to leap six times the length of its body. A long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold.
For millennia, this magnificent cat was the king of the mountains. The mountains were rich with their prey such as blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas and hares. Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia—but their population is dropping.
The sole predator of snow leopards? Humans. Hunting, habitat loss and retaliatory killings are the main reasons this big cat is now listed as an endangered species.
Snow leopards are often killed by local farmers because they prey on livestock such as sheep, goats, horses, and yak calves. The animals which snow leopards would typically hunt—such as the Argali sheep—are also hunted by local communities. As their natural prey becomes harder to find, snow leopards are forced to kill livestock for survival.
All information provided by the World Wildlife Foundation.