New monkey species name to be auctioned

02/09/05

NEW YORK (FEB. 9, 2005) The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in partnership with Bolivian protected area authorities, announced today a one-of-a-kind international auction for the right to name an entire species of monkey. The online auction runs from Feb. 24th to March 3rd, and will be hosted by Charity Folks (www.charityfolks.com), an online auction venue for nonprofits that recently sold a guitar autographed by former Beatle Paul McCartney and lunch with President Bill Clinton.

WCS discovered the currently unnamed, brown-and-orange monkey last year in Bolivia's Madidi National Park, the most biologically rich protected area on earth situated in South America's poorest nation. Over the past few centuries, newly discovered species have been named after royalty, patrons of science, and even the explorers themselves, such as the Queen Victoria crowned pigeon, Rothschild's giraffe and Roosevelt's elk.

"This is conservation at its most pragmatic," said WCS President and CEO Dr. Steven Sanderson. "The auction will give the public a chance to help Bolivia safeguard one of the world's crown jewels for wildlife, reminding us that the future of conservation is on everyone's shoulders."

WCS Conservationist Dr. Robert Wallace, who discovered the monkey, said the auction will raise money to protect the park from illegal settlements and unsustainable resource extraction. All funds generated from the naming will go to Bolivia's park service for better enforcement, protection and management of Madidi and its wildlife.

"As a wildlife biologist, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover a large mammal species, and an extreme honor to name it," Wallace said. "But it's far more important that the species habitat remains protected, which is why WCS has decided to work in partnership with Bolivian park authorities SERNAP and FUNDESNAP to auction its name to the highest bidder. This opportunity is for someone who wants to leave behind a truly lasting legacy that they cared about conservation and wildlife."

The high bidder will have the name of their choice permanently entered into all future references, including scientific publications, field guides, and other publications, that mention the new species. Madidi National Park, established in 1995, contains a stunning array of habitat types from lowland forests to alpine meadows surrounded by glaciers all in an area about the size of New Jersey. Besides the new monkey, inside its border live healthy populations of jaguars, giant river otters, over 1,000 bird species and many varieties of rare orchids and other unique plants.

According to Wallace, very little is known about the new monkey except that it stands about a foot tall, weighs two pounds and likes fruit. In the morning pairs of them gather and "duet," calling back and forth while clutching each other in what resembles a human embrace.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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