Calls to protect forest in Ghana after endangered primate species caught on camera

The white-naped Mangabey was believed to live in only a few pockets on Earth.

Listed as an endangered on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Red List, the rare monkey has now been spotted on Ghana’s Atewa Forest.

Until now, the animal was only known to be found in a few spots in western Ghana, eastern Cote d’Ivoire and southern Burkina Faso, but was recently discovered by A Rocha Ghana scientists in the Atewa Forest of Eastern Ghana.

Images of the rare monkey were caught on camera traps.

“This newly discovered population of this endangered monkey is of enormous importance for the future of the species, but the Government of Ghana with the Government of China want to push ahead with plans to extract bauxite – the ore of aluminium – from the Atewa Hills at Kyebi,” the World Conservation Union wrote.

The rare white-naped Mangabey was found in Eastern Ghana. A Rocha Ghana/Facebook

Mining bauxite is not easy.

To extract it, hill tops are removed, including the trees and plants, something that the conservation group warns will “spell the end of the unique and irreplaceable species that the forest contains.”

Not just the mangabey, but also other birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects that live in the forest could be threatened.

Scientists with A Rocha call the region Ghana’s “cradle of biodiversity.”

That’s why Dr. Russ Mittermeier, chair of the IUCN’s primate specialist group, has now written to Ghana’s president.

“It is a matter of some urgency that the forest is properly protected both from hunting and from habitat change… I urge that Ghana’s commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to the Sustainable Development Goals take precedence in this case and that Atewa Forest is removed from mining plans once and for all and made into a National Park.”

The white-naped Mangabey is under threat from habitat destruction and the bust-meat trade.

Photo A Rocha Ghana/Twitter

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