Sightings of the camera-shy "Elvis monkey" (pictured) are about as rare as modern-day sightings of the King himself.
Known for its Presleyan pompadour, Rhinopithecus strykeri—1 of some 208 new species found in Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong region last year, according to a new WWF report—hasn't yet been captured alive on camera.
(See a photo of a dead R. strykeri [warning: graphic picture].)
Discovered in Myanmar's section of the Greater Mekong-a sprawling realm of water, wetlands, mountains, and forests-was well known to local Himalayan hunters, but its discovery stunned scientists like Stuart Chapman, conservation director of WWF's Greater Mekong program, based in Vientiane, Laos.
"This is really the end of the era of large mammal discovery, so to have a new primate discovered in this area, unknown to science, is extremely rare," Chapman said. "Looking ahead we may only ever see one or two more discoveries like this. And it's sort of a bittersweet moment, because we think this species already has very low numbers."
Local hunters say that the pug nose on "Snubby," as scientists have nicknamed the species, causes the animal to sneeze repeatedly in rainstorms.
If true, Chapman said, this physical anomaly may make the animals more susceptible to hunting and/or place them at some natural disadvantages. "But the fact is that right now we know very, very little about it."