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Intangible little primate is captured on camera for the first time in almost 20 years

Elusive and cute little primate that weighs only 3.5 grams, is captured on camera for the first time in nearly 20 years as it fights extinction

  • Taita mountain dwarf galagos live in forests in the Taita hills of Southeast Kenya
  • The small primate was first noticed in 2002, but has since been elusive
  • Researchers from the University of Helsinki saw them with special cameras
  • Unfortunately, the mountainous forest habitat of the Taita galago is threatened

An elusive and cute little primate weighing just 3.5 grams has been captured on camera for the first time in nearly 20 years – while fighting against extinction.

Taita mountain dwarf galagos – who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeastern Kenya – live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups.

They have distinctive calls that they use to communicate and that experts use to differentiate them from other dwarf galagos that all look the same.

Galagos are also called ‘bush babies’.

The first recorded encounter with a Taita Mountain Dwarf Galago was reported in 2002, but since then there have been no observations of the elusive creature.

Unfortunately, the creatures are threatened by the loss of their forest habitats, which have had to deal with logging and destruction in a fire.

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An elusive little primate weighing just 3.5 grams has been captured on camera for the first time in nearly 20 years - while fighting against extinction. Pictured, a Taita mountain dwarf galago

An elusive little primate weighing just 3.5 grams has been captured on camera for the first time in nearly 20 years – while fighting against extinction. Pictured, a Taita mountain dwarf galago

WHAT IS THE TAITA BERGDORF GALAGOS?

The Taita mountain dwarf galagos is a small primate that lives in the Taita hills of Southeastern Kenya.

Each usually weighs around 3.5 grams – and lives in the forest canopies around 164 feet above the ground.

The elusive little creature was first discovered in 2002, but has not been seen by scientists since.

They are known to feed on cicadas, moths, safari ants and other insects.

They are thought to be threatened with extinction, thanks to threats to their forest habitat in the form of deforestation and fires.

The observation was made by biologist Hanna Rosti from the University of Helsinki, who works at the Taita Research Station of the institution in Wundanyi, in southeastern Kenya.

“The tropical forest is magically beautiful at night, but you are lucky enough to catch even a glimpse of the little creatures,” Mrs. Rosti said.

To spot the dwarf galagos in the forest canopy – reaching up to 50 meters above ground level – the researchers used a red light that is not visible to the animals themselves.

“Dwarf galagos make agile jumps from tree to tree and feed on moths, cicadas and other insects.”

“I’ve seen them hunt up on top of the ground safari ants, where they clearly take advantage of insects fleeing the gluttonous ants.”

Unfortunately, the small primates are threatened – and scientists fear they are about to die out.

“The future of Taita Dwarf Gala and other endemic animal and plant species depends on the future of the native mountain forests of the Taita Hills,” said botanist Jouko Rikkinen, also from the University of Helsinki.

“The state of conservation of forests must be strengthened and their area expanded by planting native trees in areas destroyed by destruction and fire.”

“This protects the habitat of Galago and ensures that mountain forests continue to provide many vital ecosystem services.”

Taita mountain dwarf galagos - who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeast Kenya - live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups

Taita mountain dwarf galagos - who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeast Kenya - live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups

Taita mountain dwarf galagos – who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeast Kenya – live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups

Petri Pellikka, director of the Taita Research Station, says that the diversity of the Taita Hills will never surprise him.

“The mountains represent a living laboratory, with great potential for groundbreaking research and fascinating new findings,” he added.

Many of the species here are unique and have evolved by themselves in this global hotspot for biodiversity.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal oryx.

Taita mountain dwarf galagos - who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeast Kenya - live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups

Taita mountain dwarf galagos - who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeast Kenya - live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups

Taita mountain dwarf galagos – who have their home in the Taita hills in Southeast Kenya – live in relatively cool mountain forests in small family groups

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