Myanmar snub-nosed monkey are nearly extinct

The total number of known Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys specimens is estimated between 260 and 330 specimens

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Myanmar snub-nosed monkey are nearly extinct

The only known examples of Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys live in three or four groups present within an area of ​​270 km² in the eastern Himalayas, in the north-eastern part of Kachin, the northernmost state of Myanmar, at an altitude between 1700 and 3200 meters.

The species, the first of the genus Rhinopithecus to have been discovered in Myanmar, is isolated from the other species of rhinopithecus from the Mekong and Salween rivers; the other four species, the golden rhinos, the brown rhinos, the white rhinos and the Tonkin rhinos, all live in China and Vietnam.

The total number of known Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys specimens is estimated between 260 and 330 specimens. Other primate species are found in the same area as the Stryker's rhinopith, including the Shortridge langur, bear macaque, Assam macaque, rendered macaque, and northern nemestrine macaque.

Myanmar snub-nosed monkey are nearly extinct

The species spends the summer months in mixed temperate forests in the highest areas of its range, but in winter it descends to lower altitudes to escape the snow. Deforestation, isolation and hunting by locals are considered potential threats to the survival of this species.

The known specimens are only 260-330 and it has been hypothesized that this animal should be included by the IUCN among the critically endangered species. This species became known to Westerners thanks to a group of scientists involved in the Myanmar Primates Conservation Program who in early 2010 were evaluating the conditions of the hulok gibbons in the area.

The expedition, led by Swiss primatologist Thomas Geissman and Ngwe Lwin of the Myanmar Association for Biodiversity and Nature Conservation, was sponsored by Fauna & Flora International and the Foundation for Human Resources and Conservation.

The species received the scientific name of Rhinopithecus strykeri in honor of the philanthropist Jon Stryker, president and founder of the Arcus Foundation, another sponsor of the expedition. The coat of this monkey is almost completely black.

On the top of the head there is a high and thin crest of long black hairs facing forward. He has long white tufts on his ears, his face almost completely hairless and covered with pale pink skin, a whitish mustache of hair above his upper lip and a characteristic white beard on his chin.

The perineal region is white and clearly defined and the limbs are almost completely black, the inner side of the limbs, both anterior and posterior, is blackish brown.