Meet India’s newest mammal: White Cheeked Macaque

What is the News?

Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have found a new mammal species named “White Cheeked Macaque” from central Arunachal Pradesh.

What is White Cheeked Macaque?
White Cheeked Macaque
Source: DNA

Scientific Name: Macaca leucogenys

It was first discovered in 2015 by a group of Chinese scientists from southeastern Tibet.

This macaque is distinct from other macaques found in the region as it displays white cheeks, long and thick hairs on the neck area and a longer tail.

It is also the last mammal to have been discovered in Southeast Asia.

Note: Arunachal macaque, as well as the White Cheeked Macaque, exist in the same biodiversity hotspot in the eastern Himalayas.

What is the significance of this discovery?

Firstly, with this discovery, India’s mammal count increases from 437 to 438.

Secondly, this discovery will lay the foundation of the species being covered by the Wildlife Protection Act of India, which presently doesn’t cover it simply because we didn’t know it existed in India.

Read more: Two plant species discovered in Kerala

Source: This post is based on the article “Meet India’s newest mammal: White Cheeked Macaque” published in The Hindu on 9th Feb 2022.

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