Scientists have found the world's largest-known population of an endangered monkey species in central Vietnam, increasing its chances of survival, conservationists said on Tuesday.
Surveys since 2005 by the WWF global environmental conservation organisation and Conservation International recorded at least 116 of the tree-dwelling grey-shanked doucs, one of the world's 25 most endangered primates.
"It's very rare to discover a population of this size with such high numbers in a small area, especially for a species on the brink of extinction," Barney Long, a conservation coordinator with WWF Vietnam, said in a statement.
"This indicates that the population has not been impacted by hunting like all other known populations of the species."
The species has only been recorded in the five central Vietnam provinces of Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Gia Lai. Fewer than 1,000 are believed to exist, and until the discovery announced on Tuesday, only one other population with more than 100 animals was known, the statement said.
Conservation International said 65 per cent of Vietnam's primates are endangered.