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Zhouzhi’s Golden Monkey

Tucked high in trees and sometimes prancing on the ground high in the Qin Ling Mountains of Shaanxi Province the Chinese golden snub-nosed monkey makes its home. This particular monkey is one of China’s cutes and most sought after monkeys. However, it is not usually hunted down by photographers hungry for images of China’s diverse wildlife, but for its bones which are believed to have healing capabilities, its fur which is considered luxurious and even for its meat. In addition the monkey habitat is being minimizes because of logging making the number of golden stub-nose monkeys decline.  Today there is an estimated 20,000 of these Monkeys left, 4,000 of which live in Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve.  It is because of the growing rarity and beauty of this monkey that it is well worth the trip to Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve or the surrounding area during your China travel. Especially if you possess the adventurous spirit a firm grasp of the Chinese dialect and maybe even a longing to see some of the other 560 vertebrate species in the area such as the stump-tailed macaque.  A passion for adventure is almost necessary because to see these monkeys in the Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve one must travel up a long, narrow and slippery road into the snowy mountains of Qin Ling were the majority of these majestic creatures reside. Of course if you do not wish to travel to Central China you can also see this Chinese treasure if you travel to Beijing and go to the Beijing zoo which has a wide variety of China’s magnificent species such as the panda, the Chinese Giant Salamander and the South China Tiger. Although I must say it is well worth the trip into the country side to see these marvelous and adaptable creatures.

The golden stub-nosed monkey is praised for its ability to adapt to the climate of the rugged climate it has been pushed into over the course of a few centuries. Their diet in this terrain is comprised of mostly lichens leaves and tree bark, can you believe it? In addition primatologist Nina Jablonski has hypothesized that the adorable stub-nose of these monkeys is not just a fashion statement but an adaptation to the usually cold climate these monkeys inhabit. Continuing on the topic of their stub-nose the Latin name of this monkey is Rhinopithecus Roxellana, which is said to be derived from the name of a sultan’s stub-nosed concubine from the mid 1500s. This is quite the name for these territorial creatures because the males do seem to strut about like sultans during mating season while the females relax and pamper each other as beautiful concubines would. It is quite a sight to see the males hopping from tree to tree in their natural environment only to stop for a moment and strut their stuff in the hopes of wooing a female.  However, unlike the concubines of the past it is not the males who lead the troops but the females who sit high as queens of their kingdoms. The quirkiness and continuing rarity of these majestic and play full hóuzi (monkeys) make them a must see on any trip to China and they are well worth the trek in to the majestic countryside that is Central China. Plus I hear everyone loves all of the rustic and ornate China hotels scattered thought the countryside .