Feeding habits and conservation biology of the Black snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri)

Feeding habits and conservation biology of the Black snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri)

The Myanmar or black snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri) was discovered in the Gaoligong Mountains of northeastern Kachin state, Myanmar in 2010, and was subsequently found in same mountains of northwestern Yunnan, China. There were 14-15 groups with about 950 individuals (10 sub-populations with 490-620 individuals in China, and 4-5 sub-populations with 260-330 individuals in Myanmar). However, field surveys and camera trap studies (2012 – 2017) only confirmed 5 sub-populations with 400 individuals on the Sino-Myanmar border. Based on field observation and cafeteria feeding trails, we found that black snub-nosed monkeys can consume more than 170 food plants from intact sub-tropical evergreen broadleaf forests and hemlock-broadleaf mixed forests at an altitude of 2200-3000 m. This range is closely correlated with the predicted elevational home range of R. strykeri based on interview surveys, camera trap records, and habitat distribution modelling. Nutritional studies and comparisons of a range of leaf samples and food plants revealed that R. strykeri preferentially selected leaves that were high in mean free water content (76.7%), crude protein (20.6%), crude ash (6.5%) and phosphorus (0.37%) and avoided leaves with a neutral detergent fiber content approaching 39.9%. Our survey also found that this population has been mainly threatened by hunting, logging and habitat loss. Two national parks (Imawbum National Park in Myanmar and Nujiang Grand Canyon National Park in China) and other conservation actions have been proposed and processed for saving this species.


Yin Yang is a PhD researcher in biological anthropology at the Australian National University. Yin’s research aims to understand the ecology and conservation needs of Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys, and has included 26 months of fieldwork in China. Yin’s primary research interests involve the feeding habits and feeding adaptation strategies of these monkeys, complemented by comparative cross-Rhinopithecus species analyses. Yin’s work uses camera trapping, species distribution models, and a systematic conservation framework for preventing the continued decline of this population and the loss of habitat to ensure the long survival of this rare and little known primate.

Date & time

Thu 28 Feb 2019, 4–6pm




Yin Yang


Dr. Justyna Miszkiewicz


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