Update – 29 May 2012
A second small population of the recently discovered species, the Myanmar Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri), has been discovered by scientists in China.
Fernando Potess, PRCF CEO, said ‘We are very pleased to learn that there are more Snubby groups beyond those discovered in Myanmar – perhaps even holding viable populations of the species’.
Camera traps set up by PRCF and partners in remote northern Myanmar took the world’s first photos of the elusive species in 2011. Some photos even showed mothers with babies and family groups. The species was first discovered in 2010 by the same collaborative survey team, comprising the Myanmar Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association, Fauna & Flora International and PRCF. These team partners have also been cooperating with Chinese primatologists – most recently attending a primate conservation workshop convened by FFI China in Yunnan province (August 2011).
An international team with the German Primate Center recently analysed the DNA of all five snub-nosed monkey species known to scientists. Genetic material was extracted from faecal samples and skin fragments cut out from museum exhibits. The team’s findings confirm that the Myanmar Snub-nosed Monkey is indeed a new species (CORDIS, 2012).
Chinese scientists, believing that the primate species also existed near China’s border region with Myanmar, searched the mountainous areas of Yunnan and reportedly managed to photograph the monkey in October 2011 – and videotape another in March 2012 (China Daily, 2012).
According to the China Daily, Chinese forestry staff have been dispatched to monitor and protect the species, known as the Nujiang Golden Monkey in Chinese. They also aim to raise areness of the species’s endangered status. ‘It is gratifying to learn that the Chinese authorities are stepping up efforts to conserve the species,’ Potess said.
The far northeast of Myanmar has been experiencing high rates of deforestation through logging by Chinese companies since the early 1990s. China is also the main source of demand for wildlife, including primates, hunted indiscriminately for the traditional medicine market.
PRCF and partners are working with government agencies, local authorities and communities to help minimize the significant threats to the endangered primate.
New golden monkey variety found in SW China
China Daily US Edition, 16 May 2012
Looking out for the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey.
Community research and development information service (CORDIS) 24 May 2012.