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Yunnan Golden Monkey
2006-02-17 17:34:33

The Yunnan golden monkey averages 9 kilograms (females) to 15 kilograms (males). It lives in high-altitude evergreen forests between 3000 - 4500 meters, where temperatures average below 0 deg C (32 deg F) for several months of the year and snow can accumulate to over 1 meter in depth. The primary food of the Yunnan golden monkey appears to be lichens growing on tree bark. Unlike other arboreal primates, the Yunnan golden monkey forms groups that can number more than 200.

In the 1890's, French scientists first reported the existence of the Yunnan golden monkey.  For decades after this, however, zoologists could not determine whether it still survived, and some suggested that it was extinct.  In 1962 its existence was confirmed. Currently, it is found in the Yunling Mountains in southwestern China.   Recent surveys suggest there are 13 isolated sub-populations located in five counties in Yunnan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Yunnan golden monkey has suffered from loss of habitat and intensive hunting and trapping. It is also caught in snares set for other animals, such as musk deer. Its population is fragmented, and geographic features make it improbable that there is exchange of individuals between the 13 sub-populations.

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