Golden Monkey

Written by Matteo Updated Apr. 7, 2021

The Golden Monkey is one of the rare and precious animals in the world. There are only 4 species that exist in the world, including Golden Golden Monkey, Yunnan Golden Monkey, Guizhou Golden Monkey and Tonkin Golden Monkey. The first three species inhabit China so we can say Golden monkey is peculiar to China and under the State’s first-class protection.

Besides China, there are some specimens of golden monkeys in the museums of a few countries such as the UK and France in the world. Golden Monkey, which is as precious as the Giant Panda in China, is also China’s “national treasure”. The Golden Monkey, having bight-colored fur, special appearance, graceful movement, and gentle nature, is deeply loved by people.

Physical Features of Golden Monkey

The Golden Monkey’s body length is about 70 cm (2.3 ft) and the length of its tail is the same as that of its body or even longer. This monkey has flat nose with nostrils facing forward, full lips and no cheek pouch. The beautiful Golden monkey has cyan and polish long fur on its back and blackish-grey fur on shoulders, upper arms, back, crown and tail. The side of the crown, nape, abdomen, inner arms and thighs are covered with soft brown fur.

The Golden monkey is named after the stump nose with forward-facing nostrils, and it is also called ‘non nose bridged’ because of its seriously degenerated nose.

There are four species of Golden monkey in the world and three of them inhabit China and are under the State’s first-class protection. The characteristics to identify these four species are as follows: the Golden Golden Monkey has sky-blue fur on its cheek, which gives it another name “Blue Cheek Monkey” and the fur on sides of the body, chest and thigh are golden brown.

Compared with other monkey species, Golden Monkey is gorgeous in appearance, especially Golden Golden Monkey. This kind of monkey has long deep brown crest on the bottom of its head, ears that are surrounded with bushes of creamy yellow fur and a cycle of golden guard hairs subtend their brownish red cheeks. The chest and abdomen are covered with light yellow or white fur, the callus of its hip is dusty blue and the male monkey gets a bright blue scrotum. The tail of the Golden monkey is about the same length as its body. Beside, their soft golden long fur, which can grow as long as 30 cm (12 inches) is like a golden cape on the back, giving them the notable name “Golden Hair Monkey”

Chinese Golden Monkeys
Chinese Golden Monkey

Where Chinese Golden Monkey Live

These monkeys inhabit Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. Yunnan Golden Monkey has white fur on both sides of its face, mainly inhabiting  in Yunnan, Sichuan and eastern Tibet. Guizhou Golden Monkey has an oval-shaped area of white fur between shoulders, inhabits areas between Guizhou and Sichuan provinces. Tonkin Golden Monkey inhabits the low altitude limestone mountainous subtropical rainforests between Tuyên Quang Province and B?n Tre Province in northern Vietnam.

Living Environment

The Golden Monkey is a typical arboreal animal inhabiting mountainous forests which are 1500 to 3300 meters (4921-10826 ft) above sea level. The vegetative cover type and vertical range of the forests range from subtropical evergreen and deciduous broadleaf mixed forests, subtropical deciduous broadleaf forests, and coniferous forests to secondary deciduous broadleaf and coniferous mixed forests. With seasonal changes, the Golden Monkeys do not migrate horizontally but to different altitudes of the forests accordingly. The Golden Monkeys are gregarious and a large colony is divided into many small units. There can be more than 600 monkeys in the largest colony, which is rare for primates to have such a large colony.

Habit and Diet

As the Golden Monkeys live in groups in the forests of mountainous areas, most of their activities occur in the trees, but some feeding may take place on the ground.

Golden Monkeys eat lichens, sprouts, fruits, seeds, buds, leaves, bamboo shoots, flowers, as well as barks and roots. Additionally, they enjoy eating insects, birds and bird’s eggs.

Golden Monkey's Social Life

Golden Monkey has typical family lifestyle. The family members take care of each other while foraging or having a rest. In the family, the subadults which are curious and naughty are doted on by their parents, however, when they grow up into adults, they will be evicted from the family group to live alone in the wild.

Golden Monkey
Golden Monkeys

How Many Golden Monkeys Existing in China

Based on the research data:

There are 4 monkey colonies with about 500 monkeys in Shennongjia Forestry District in Hubei Province.

There are 123 monkeys in the largest colony. On Wushan in eastern Sichuan Province, there are 2 to 3 colonies with a total number of less than 100 ones.  In Sichuan Province and near the border of southern Gansu Province, there are Golden Monkeys distributed at about 1300 square kilometers (502 square miles) in Minshan, 10000 square kilometers (3861 square miles) in Qionglai Mountain, 2000 square kilometers (772 square miles) at Daxue Mountain and Xiaoliang Mountain and 2500 square kilometers (965 square miles) in total.

On the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi Province, there are 53 colonies, among which in the small ones there are about 50 monkeys and in the large ones there are about 100 monkeys.  And there are 300 monkeys in the largest colonies. It is estimated that there are about 5340 Golden Monkeys in Shaanxi Province.

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