Critically endangered
How We're Helping to Save Asian Leaf Monkeys

Conservation Status: Tonkin snub-nosed Monkey, IUCN Red List - Critically Endangered; red-shanked douc langur, Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, and François’ langur, IUCN Red List - Endangered

Threats to Survival: Habitat loss and fragmentation; poaching


A Unique Lineage

Old world monkeys that occur in Africa and Asia, leaf monkeys are named for their folivorous diet and specialized stomach. Asian leaf monkeys, represented by at least 45 species, are particularly fascinating because they live in a variety of habitats ranging from tropical to temperate environments. Since 2001, San Diego Zoo Global has played a vital role in the research and conservation of Asian leaf monkeys. Currently the focus of our Global Partnerships team is on four species in Vietnam and China.

Enhancing Protection and Increasing Understanding

The Tonkin snub-nosed monkey is one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, with fewer than 200 individuals remaining in northern Vietnam. The largest population, consisting of fewer than 200 individuals, is located in Khau Ca. Here, we are working with our partners to improve protected area management, better understand the monkeys’ habitat requirements, and conduct educational outreach. We have partnered with an international team of researchers to better understand the species’ biological requirements, population structure, and health. To help protect red-shanked douc langurs in central Vietnam and Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys in southwest China, we work with local partners to deploy large networks of motion triggered camera traps to monitor monkey populations around the clock, which allows us to study their behavior and ecology remotely. Using this technology, we assist reserve managers in devising effectively targeted strategies to reduce threats to monkeys and other wildlife.

Reducing Human-Wildlife Conflict and Raising Awareness

Although endangered, the François’ langur is considered a major agricultural pest in China’s Mayanghe National Nature Reserve. We are collaborating with reserve managers and university scientists to understand the langurs’ dietary requirements in addition to the extent of their crop-raiding and its effect on people’s livelihoods. Ultimately, we hope to mitigate the conflict by gaining community perspectives and finding viable solutions to promote coexistence. Working with international and our in-country collaborators, we are implementing our Little Green Guards conservation education program in primary and secondary schools near all of our Asian leaf monkey field sites. These programs serve to increase students' awareness and understanding of native wildlife, as well as to instill a sense of pride in their natural heritage and responsibility for its stewardship.

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