New titi monkey species discovered/ New oil contracts offered

Caqueta titi monkey

[. southern Colombia. via Wired]

This new species of titi monkey, which purrs, was first spotted in 1976 by biologist Martin Moynihan. Years of guerilla control blocked off the region to biologists, but with a new government making the region safer, Thomas Defler was able to enter the area in 2008.

The new species was announced a couple of days ago on August 12 in Primate Conservation.

The Caqueta titi monkeys, all 250 of them, also reside in an area demarcated as ‘CAG-5 block’, which marks another first for Colombia; the government has begun handing out licenses for oil exploration. Or seismic exploration, as Setty Southam describes:

Seismic exploration generally involves driving machines along more or less straight lines through the territory and vibrating the ground to detect the geology. Rather like a purring monkey, only bigger.

The area of southern Colombia in question was under guerrilla control for a long time, making it off-limits for both biologists and oil companies. Now, the government has secured the area and is handing out oil exploration licenses before the biologists can conduct even the level of surveys that detects mammals, much less the slow, difficult work of finding new species of lizards, butterflies, fish or frogs.

‘Exploration’ sounds like a pretty weak term for ransacking; without proper checks, it  just becomes rape and pillage.

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