Lesula Monkeys, scientifically known as the Cercopithecus lomamiensis is a species of the Old Monkeys in the Guenon family inhabiting the Lomami Basin of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although always known to the locals of the area, Lesula Monkeys were unknown to the International scientific Community until were discovered in 2007 and confirmed through publication in 2012. Their scientific name of lomamiensis was derived from the nearby Lomami River.
These monkeys are the second new species of the African monkeys to be discovered from 1984 (28 years). They are described to have human-looking eyes and blue bottoms. Not only, adult males have large bare patch of skin in their buttocks, perianal area and testicles. According to John A. Hart, the researcher who described the Lesula monkeys, these primates are brilliant blue and pretty spectacular.
Lesula monkeys were listed among the Top 10 new species discovered in 2012 and 2013 by the International Institute for species Exploration at Arizona State University out of more than 140 choruses.
They live within the remote rainforests in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the 2007 species being found in captivity in the Village of Opala. From the time of sighting, Lesula monkeys have been seen in the wild between Lomami and Tshuapa Rivers in the Central part of this country. The find started with luck when one of the field researchers saw a strange monkey in the remote Town of Opala and it took three years to confirm that the Lesula were actually new species of monkeys.
Their population is faced with a number of risks including poaching due to the high demand for bushy meat. Furthermore, protecting these monkeys is further challenged by their small habitat range which makes them vulnerable and will become seriously endangered in a number of years. Therefore, their range is within the Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba Conservation Landscape and the Lomami National Park to protect the other species of primates in the region. These monkeys are different from other monkeys, for instance the difference in the skulls of the Lesula monkeys and the Owl-faced monkeys is the strikingly larger and almost human-like eyes, narrower distance between the orbits and more flexed back of the cranium of the former.
The Lesula monkey has a pink face and golden mane of long grizzled blond hair frames forming a protruding pale, naked face and muzzle with relatively distinct cream-colored vertical nose stripe. Far to the east across a number of large river systems, the owl-faced monkey is aptly named. Its sunken eyes are set deep in the dark face, a white stripe running down from its brow to its mouth like a line of chalk on the blackboard. Lesula are separated from their nearest cousins by two rivers-the Lomami and the Congo River.
Their range was estimated by Researchers at about 6500 square miles in the Central Democratic Republic of Congo but showed concern that this relatively small distribution could make these primates vulnerable to human pressures such as illegal bush meat hunting and habitat destruction. Besides these new monkeys, the forest is a home to African elephants, Bonobos, Okapi in addition to other 10 species of primates.
In conclusion, Lesula monkeys, the newly discovered monkeys are found within the Lomami Basin of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were discovered in 2007 and confirmed in 2012 through publication.