Study raises new hope for critically endangered Myanmar monkey

Conservationists say there has been a dramatic improvement in the outlook for the critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, one of the world’s most threatened primates, research news website Science Daily reported on January 11.

The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, (Rhinopithecus strykeri), was discovered in Kachin State in 2010 by U Ngwe Lin, a scientist with Flora & Fauna International, Myanmar.

The Science Daily report is based on a conservation status review of the species, which lives in forests straddling the border between Kachin and China’s Yunnan Province.

The review was conducted by Flora & Fauna International, Myanmar; the Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research, Dali University, China; and the German Primate Center, at Göttingen, which published the study.

The status review sought to uncover how the species was faring eight years after its discovery, the report said.

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The review followed research by FFI and partners in 2012 that resulted in the species being designated as critically endangered due to its small population size and threats from hunting and habitat loss.

The review found that although the status of the snub-nosed monkey remained critical due to its small, fragmented population and the threats, “positive action by communities, governments and NGOs have resulted in a dramatic improvement in the outlook for the species”.

The report said intensive community-based conservation awareness work had reduced hunting pressure on the species in Myanmar. The monkeys had also benefitted from the implementation of a border agreement signed by Myanmar and China in 2015, which had significantly reduced illegally trans-boundary wildlife trade and illegal logging, the report said.

It also welcomed moves by the Myanmar and Chinese governments to establish new protected areas on both sides of the border. They are the Imawbum National Park in Myanmar and the Nujiang Grand Canyon National Park in China, on the upper reaches of the Thanlwin (Salween) River.

“Crucially, both governments recognised the importance of integrating the socioeconomic needs of local communities within the planning process, and the new protected areas will reflect this,” the report said.

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