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Rhinopithecus bieti

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PRIMATES CERCOPITHECIDAE

Scientific Name: Rhinopithecus bieti
Species Authority: Milne-Edwards, 1897
Common Name(s):
English Black Snub-nosed Monkey, Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey
Synonym(s):
Pygathrix roxellana subspecies bieti (Milne-Edwards, 1897)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Bleisch, W. & Richardson, M.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Justification:
Listed as Endangered as there are less than 1,000 mature individuals, and the species has likely declined by well over 20% in the last 2 generations (approximately 25 years).
History:
2000 Endangered
1996 Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs only in southwestern China (Tibet and Yunnan). It is found in fragmented populations in the Yun Ling Mountains in northwestern Yunnan and southeastern Tibet, west of the Yangtze River and east of the Mekong River (Yang 2003).
Countries:
Native:
China
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In 2006 the total known population was estimated at less than 2,000, with less than 1,000 mature individuals. There are currently 15 subpopulations, with 3 locations where subpopulations are known to have been extirpated since 1994 (L. Yongcheng pers. comm.). Although the remaining populations are well known, there are very likely to be as yet unsurveyed populations.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in high-altitude evergreen forests, both the lower (about 3,000 m) and upper (about 4,700 m) limits of its known ranges (Long et al.. 1996) are the highest recorded for a primate. It prefers fir-larch forest between the Yangtze and Mekong Rivers (Long et al. 1994). At Bamei, in northern Yunnan Province, it was found to live primarily in cypress forests (Zhong et al. 1998).

It is mainly folivorous, though Kirkpatrick et al. (2001) report that lichens are also an important part of its diet in the northern part of its range. It is semi-terrestrial and diurnal (Wu and Xian 1994).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is hunting, often as a non-targeted species caught in snares set for musk deer. A preliminary PVA using Vortex found that five smallest subpopulations are at risk of declines and extinction in the next 100 years from effects inbreeding and poaching, while 5 largest subpopulations were considered more secure (Xiao et al. 2005). The species is also threatened by habitat loss, especially from logging. Since 1999, when a ban stopped most commercial logging in the region, habitat loss has slowed, but it is still a large potential threat in the future. Clearing of forest land for summer grazing pasture had decreased suitable habitat for the monkeys by 31% between 1958 and 1997 (Xiao et al. 2003). In addition, fires set for agriculture are a threat to some of the areas, particularly in Tibetan Autonomous Region. A subpopulation of about 50 individuals in one area was apparently extirpated due to pesticide spraying for control of forest pests (Zhong Tai in litt.)

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix I. Most of the remaining populations are in protected areas, with only four groups found outside of them. There are currently 11 groups in protected areas: Hongla Snow Mountain Nature Reserve in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (which contains about 300 individuals), and Baima Snow Mountain and Laojun Mountain Nature Reserves in Yunnan.

There is a major focus in China on captive breeding of this species, with breeding pairs at the Kunming Zoo and Kunming Institute of Zoology. Most of these individuals are captured from the wild, and so far the program is not sustainable (Wang Sung pers. comm.).

Citation: Bleisch, W. & Richardson, M. 2008. Rhinopithecus bieti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 July 2014.
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