Rhinopithecus brelichi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Rhinopithecus brelichi
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1903)
Common Name/s:
English Grey Snub-nosed Monkey, Gray Snub-nosed Monkey, Guizhou Snub-nosed Monkey
Taxonomic Notes: It was formerly considered a subspecies of Rhinopithecus roxellana, but is now accepted as specifically distinct (Groves 2001).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v); C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Bleisch, W., Yongcheng, L. & Richardson, M.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Endangered, in view of its extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km² and area of occupancy of less than 500 km², with all individuals in fewer than five locations, and a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and in the number of mature individuals; and because there are fewer than 1,000 mature individuals, all in a single population that is experiencing a continuing decline.
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 is endemic to a small region of Guizhou Province southern China (in Jiangkou, Songtao, and Yingjiang counties). It is confined to a small, continuous block of habitat centering on Fanjing Mountain, south of the Yangtze in the Wuling Mountains (Bleisch et al. 1993; Bleisch and Xie 1994; Groves 2001). There were unconfirmed anecdotal reports of a population in Jinfoshan Nature Reserve, but the status is unknown.
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In 1992, a census with multiple observation teams led to an estimate of 600-1,200 individuals (Bleisch et al. 1993; Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve 1996). A new census in 2005 led to an estimate of about 750 individuals, believed to consist of less than 400 mature individuals, in one troop which may divide in the winter into smaller groups (Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve unpubl. data). There is evidence that 20 individuals have moved outside of the Nature Reserve into an adjacent community forest (Lijiadashan) (Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve unpubl. data; W. Bleisch pers. comm. 2006). No other individuals have been confirmed outside of the nature reserve.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in forests of mixed–deciduous and evergreen broadleaf and deciduous broadleaf trees at elevations between 1,400 and 2,300 m (Bleisch et al. 1993; Bleisch 1995; Bleisch and Xie 1998). However, at times of heavy snow cover, they may be recorded at lower elevations (as low as 570 m), as individuals move down to the rivers (W. Bleisch pers. comm. 2006). It occurs in secondary forest but is absent from coniferous forest (W. Bleisch pers. comm. 2006). The subpopulations are thought to utilize much of the available habitat throughout the nature reserve. It is folivorous, but also consumes leaf buds, flower buds, fruits, seeds, bark, and insect larvae (Bleisch et al. 1993; Bleisch and Xie 1998). It is diurnal and semi-terrestrial, yet more arboreal as it only comes to the ground when there is an absence of appropriate trees (Bleisch et al. 1993). The birth season for this species is from April to May (Bleisch et al. 1993). The social structure is based on one-male groups which travel and rest together in large cohesive bands composed of up to 400 individuals or more (Bleisch et al. 1993; Bleisch and Xie 1998).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by non-targeted hunting (Bleisch 1991) and habitat loss due to forest clearing (Bleisch 1995). It is also sometimes caught in snares set for other animals (Bleisch 1995). Previously, collection of magnolia flower buds and bark (by cutting down tress) by local villagers removed a food source of this species, but this practice has reportedly ceased (Dunyan pers. comm. 2006). There is currently construction and development for tourism, including a tourist road, cable car and hotels within the nature reserve, which are a potential threat because of habitat destruction and disturbance. At lower elevations, there is continued pressure from agricultural expansion and collection of firewood. The species occurs at only a single locality, making it vulnerable to epidemic disease or catastrophes.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix I, and as Category I under the Chinese Wildlife Protection Act, 1989.
The most urgent conservation need is to remove the threats in and around the Fanjingshan Nature Reserve. In the longer term, there is a need to survey other possible remnant forests in the vicinity, especially Jinfoshan Nature Reserve (along the border between Guizhou and Sichuan provinces), for the small possibility of other populations and also to investigate the possibility of translocation. There are also other possible sites within the Wuling Mountain range that might offer suitable habitat.

The Fanjingshan Nature Reserve maintains a captive breeding colony, and a few pairs have been sent to other centers in China. However, breeding has been slow and the future of the captive population is not considered secure (Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve 1996).

Bibliography [top]

Bleisch, W. 1992. Preliminary comments on the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi). Asian Primates 1(3): 4.

Bleisch, W. 1995. Conservation of Guizhou golden monkeys, Rhinopithecus brelichi. Proceedings of the Second International Conference of the China Primatological Society: 150-156.

Bleisch, W. and Xie, J. 1994. Ecology and behavior of Guizhou golden monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi). XVth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Bal, Indonesia.

Bleisch, W. and Xie J. 1998. Ecology and behavior of Guizhou golden monkeys, Rhinopithecus brelichi. In: N. Jablonski (ed.), The Natural History of the Doucs and Snub-Nosed Langurs, Singapore.

Bleisch, W., Cheng, A. S., Ren, X. D. and Xie, J. H. 1993. Preliminary results from a field study of wild Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi). Folia Primatologica 60(1-2): 72-82.

Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve. 1996. Guizhou Snub-nosed Monkey Conservation and PHVA Workshop. IUCN-CBSG.

Groves, C. P. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Bleisch, W., Yongcheng, L. & Richardson, M. 2008. Rhinopithecus brelichi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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