Of the three species of snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus stryken) native to Myanmar — the white eyebrow eastern monkey, the white eyebrow western monkey and the white hand monkey — the first is considered a vulnerable species while the last two are an endangered species, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar).
Experts have said if these monkeys are not protected, they will become extinct within 50 years. In an effort to prevent this, the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division of the Forest Department, together with the Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar) are conducting conservation and research on monkeys in the Mahamyaing, Hukawng Valley, Tamanthi and Ponkanrazi wildlife reserve areas, it is learnt. U Hla Naing of the Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar) said these monkeys are an important part of the ecosystem “Monkeys eat ripe fruit and excrete or spit out seeds that they cannot eat or digest. Because of this, plants grow more easily and thus monkeys were considered planters of natural forests”, said U Hla Naing.
“Monkeys were hunted aggressively while also facing the danger of a shrinking habitat. They lived in groups and there are usually three or four in a group. As they are becoming endangered and vulnerable and facing extinction, systematic conservation works need to be done. We will continue to conduct conservation education works.”
The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey lives only in the remote high forests of northeast Myanmar and across the border in China’s Gaoligong Mountain Natural Preserve. There are as few as 260 to 330 left in the wild, according to conservationists.