ITANAGAR- A rare white-cheeked macaque was spotted in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh for the second time, a forest official said on Sunday.
The mammal was first spotted in Anjaw district by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) earlier this year, and it was published in the February 3 issue of the international peer-reviewed journal ‘Animal Gene’.
The mammal is the newest addition to the list of primate species found in the Indian subcontinent, the official said.
Before this, the white-cheeked macaque was found in Modog in southeastern Tibet in 2015, West Kameng district Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Chukhu Loma said.
Anjaw is barely 200 km in aerial distance from where it was first spotted in Modog in China, he said.
“Not many days after its discovery in Anjaw, a white-cheeked macaque was captured in a camera trap in Bishum Phudung in Dirang,” he said.
The animal has distinct facial features that differentiate it from other macaques, specifically the white cheeks (whiskers), and long and thick hair on the neck, the official said.
“This is an exceptional discovery, given how rare it is and how little we know about it,” Mr Loma said.
“The need of the hour is to carry out an in-depth scientific study of the animal. Our team will push forward this work as better as we can,” he added.
The rare marbled cat was also captured in camera traps in Bishum Phudung area in good numbers, the official said.
“Arunachal Pradesh has already made a distinct place for itself as the ‘Botanical Paradise of India’, where at this point, almost every day a new species of flora and fauna is discovered,” the official said.