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Gray Snub-nosed Monkey
Rhinopithecus brelichi
Information
Common Name Brelich's Snub-nosed Monkey, Guizhou Snub-nosed Monkey, and Guizhou Golden Monkey
Range Mount Fanjing National Nature Reserve in the Wuling Mountains in Guizhou province, China.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Primates
Family Cercopithecidae
Genus Rhinopithecus
Species Rhinopithecus brelichi
Conservation Status
ENSpecies
Endangered

The Gray snub-nosed monkey, (Rhinopithecus brelichi), also known as Brelich's snub-nosed monkey, Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, and Guizhou golden monkey, is a species of snub-nosed monkey in the Cercopithecidae family. It is endemic to China, where it is known as the Guizhou golden hair monkey (黔金丝猴) or gray golden hair monkey (灰金丝猴). It is threatened by habitat loss. Of the four species of snub-nosed monkeys in China, the gray snub-nosed monkey is the most threatened, with a total population of less than 750 in around 20 groups surviving in the wild.

Description

Adults are covered with long, fine hair, generally grading from brown on its upper body to gray on its lower body, with a white patch between its shoulder blades. Its head, neck, and ends of its limbs are black, except for a golden brow. It has a golden chest, and chestnut fur on its inner knees and inner sides of its upper arms. Its face is bare bluish-white skin, pink around the eyes and mouth, and has a shelf-like brow and reduced nasal bones, giving it a snub-nosed appearance. Juvelines are shades of gray with patterns changing with age. Adult males are brighter colored than adult females, and have white skin on prominent nipples. Size data is limited, but two adult male specimens weighed 14.5 kg on average, and an adult female specimen weighed 8 kg, with adult length excluding tail ranging from 64–73 cm, and tail length ranging from 70–97 cm.

Distribution

The confirmed distribution range of the gray snub-nosed monkey is limited to the Mount Fanjing National Nature Reserve in the Wuling Mountains in Guizhou province, China. There is unpublished evidence that 20 individuals moved from the Nature Reserve to an adjacent community forest (Lijiadashan), and there are unconfirmed anecdotal reports of a population in Jinfoshan Nature Reserve.

Habitat

Its habitat consists of mixed deciduous and evergreen broad leaf forest, including secondary forest, but not coniferous forest. The forests include mono-groves of Asian oak (Cyclobalanopsis spp.) and beech (Fagus longipetiolata), as well as mixed species forests that include cherry (Prunus spp.), maple (Acer spp.), Rhododendron spp, and birch (Betula spp.) trees. It lives at elevations of 1,400–2,300 m in summers down to 570 m at times of heavy snow cover. They're thought to utilize most of the available range of the nature reserve. The yearly rainfall in the area above 1,600 m elevation is above 2000 mm. Snow is common in the winter, with sub-freezing temperatures about five months of the year, though monthly mean temperatures are never below 0°C.

Behavior

The diurnal species is considered semi-terrestrial, primarily inhabits trees where available. Locomotion includes a mix of "quadrupedal walking, climbing, leaping, semi-brachiation (tree-swinging) and occasional full brachiation."

It feeds on a variety of young leaves, leaf and flower buds, bark, fruits, certain petioles (e.g. Fagus longipetiolata), seeds (e.g. Prunus spp. and Sorbus spp.), and insect larvae. Seasonality of the forest means the monkey's diet changes seasonally as well; it may be 7% leaves in the first three months of the year, and 93% in the next three. Fruits and seeds can constitute 35% of the diet in July to September.

Its social structure is based on small groups that band together into larger troops of up to 400 or more individuals, traveling, feeding and sleeping. The groups typically have 5-10 members, comprising one dominant male and several females and their young. There are also all-male bachelor groups of two to five adult or sub-adult males, which typically mill about the periphery of a troop. The groups split into large or smaller bands seasonally.

Conservation Status

Though legally protected, the gray snub-nosed monkey is threatened seriously due to habitat loss from forest clearing, illegal mining, non-targeted hunting, and occasional inadvertent snare trapping. A 2008 census located around 750 individuals, consistent with a 2005 census. The Fanjing reserve that covers the distribution range wasn't established until 1978, and centuries of mining mining activities depleted the forest on the northern slope of the mountains; ongoing reforestation efforts haven't been able to restore the forest to the level of sustaining the ideal survival environment for the monkeys.

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