Biodiversity Science ›› 1996, Vol. 04 ›› Issue (3): 145-152.doi: 10.17520/biods.1996026

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Status and conservation strategy of the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey

Long Yongcheng, Craig Kirkpatrick, Zhong Tai, Xiao Li   

  1. 1) Kunming Institute of Zoology , The Chinese Academy of Sciences ,  Kunming 650223
    2)Department of Anthropology , University of California , Davis ,USA ,CA 95616
    3) Baimaxueshan Nature Reserve Station ,  Yunnan , Deqin  674500
  • Received:1995-04-04 Revised:1995-07-18 Online:1996-08-20

The Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti), is one of the most  endangered animal species endemic to China. The monkey is definitely associated with fir forest. Most monkey groups live at elevations of 3800~4300 m, and they sometimes can go up to a few hundred meters above tree line (4700 m alt.) and cross wide alpine meadow or heath patches on top of snow mountain, so that the species is the nonhuman primate species that was found at highest elevations. Its main food is the lichen (Bryoria nepalensis), an epiphyte on fir and other alpine trees, and 91% of its feeding time is spent on the lichen. Its  home range may be over 100 km2.  After eight years' field survey, the total population of the species has been estimated to be 1000~1500 individuals spread in 13 natural groups distributed in one county in Tibet (Mangkang), and four counties in Yunnan (Deqin, Lanping, Weixi, and Lijiang). All these groups were isolated due to fragmentation of its habitat, therefore, it is impossible for the gene exchange among those groups or populations. Although it has been in the list of the first class protected animals of China for almost 20 years, its survival future is not optimistic. In fact, its habitat is being lost quickly due to the commercial logging and sharply increased human population in the area, and its population is being decreased rapidly by poachers. Further conservation action on this precious animal (including protect all the natural groups of the species) should be implemented as soon as possible. In this paper, conservation status of each of the natural groups has been presented and discussed; a detailed conservation consideration for all the natural group of the species has been proposed.

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