Sunday, 12 May 2013

Species of the Day: Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana)

The Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) is a small primate endemic to the mountain forests of SW China. While the adults grow luxurious golden coats, the babies are covered in dense white fur.

 Living in frigid regions of the Sichuan province, this monkey lives mostly off of lichens. This species is endangered largely because of habitat loss. Moreover, it is because the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey relies so heavily on lichen (which grows on trees, living and dead). When dead trees are found in the woods they are harvested by humans, thus removing a key nutritional source of this Chinese primate. 

One of the most adorable behavioural characteristics of this species is their habit of huddling for warmth while they sleep in frosty trees. The Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey lives in one of the coldest environments of a non-human primate. The following clip from Planet Earth illustrates their behaviour nicely:

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