The Conservation Status of Callicebus caquetensis (Pitheciidae): A New Species in Southern Caquetá Department, Colombia
Abstract Moynihan (1976) mentioned an undescribed species of Callicebus between the ríos Caquetá and Orteguaza, Caquetá Department, Colombia. In August 2008, we confirmed the new species, which is phylogenetically related to C. ornatus and C. discolor to the north and south of the type locality respectively. We described this species as Callicebus caquetensis Defler et al., 2010 establishing its distribution through direct observations and information from local communities. Eighty-two animals were seen, including the holotype and paratype, which were collected. A review of historical archives of aerial photographs and satellite maps was carried out to assess the loss of the original vegetation of the area, and we found the habitat in an advanced state of fragmentation caused by extensive ranching and illegal crop cultivation. Existing coverage is now limited to small fragments of the original primary forest and secondary vegetation. We analyzed a Google Earth image of 75 km2 of this primate's habitat and found only 32% of forest and secondary forest vegetation remaining in 2002, the year the image was captured. We propose this Colombian endemic species should be considered as Critically Endangered (CR), (based upon the criteria A3c,d,e, C2 of the IUCN). We suggest that the Colombian and Caquetá governments and private individuals give special attention to this endemic primate, most importantly in the creation of reserves and in environmental education initiatives. This is probably the most endangered of Colombia's primates.