As one of the most endangered primate species in the world, sightings of the elusive Tonkin snub-nosed monkey are rare. Its no wonder a recent sighting of a group in Vietnam has proved cause for celebration.
Believed to be fewer than 200 of the species remaining, this positive sighting by Fauna & Flora Internationals community patrol group in Khau Ca forest, identified a group of 80 monkeys, including 16 infants.
Such large gatherings of leaf-eating primates are known to occur seasonally, but with the number of the species dwindling rapidly, groups of this size are rarely observed.
Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys are amongst the rarest primates in the world, found only in Vietnam. Despite strict legal protection under local laws, the species is heavily hunted and most of the remaining subpopulations are so small that their survival cannot be guaranteed.
The population at the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Species and Habitat Conservation Area at Khau Ca, where this group was seen, is the largest remaining and is currently estimated to comprise a total of about 110 individuals.
To breed successfully Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys need good quality forest and absolute safety from hunting. Fauna & Flora International has been supporting the local forest protection authorities in Khau Ca for a decade, to safeguard these impressive primates. The University of Colorado at Boulder and the Zoos of Denver, San Diego and Singapore also contribute to conservation at this site and the joint efforts appear to have led to a stabilisation and gradual recovery of the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey population at Khau Ca.
Explore further: Rare albino sparrow spotted in Australia