Conservation Actions

This species is listed on CITES Appendix I. Critically Endangered by The IUCN Red List and it is listed as critically endangered in the Vietnam Red Data Book. It is confirmed in two protected areas: Na Hang Nature Reserve and Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Species/Habitat Conservation Area at Khau Ca (established in 2009), and an unprotected area of Tung Vai forest (Le Khac Quyet and Covert, 2010). Based on interviews and specimen information, it may occur in Yen Tu Nature Reserve in Quang Ninh Province, but it is unclear whether a population still exists at this location (Le Khac Quyet pers. comm.). Likewise, it is unclear if it still exists in Cham Chu Nature Reserve. During the past 14 years there have been significant conservation activities in the Khau Ca area in collaboration with the Ha Giang Forestry Protection Department and this includes training and supporting community patrol groups and studies of land-use and livelihoods of local communities and population monitoring by Fauna and Flora International (FFI).  FFI has also been involved in conservation education activities in partnership with the Denver Zoo.  Additional examples include long-term ecological studies have occurred here under the direction of Le Khac Quyet and a team of local research assistants working with FFI, the University of Colorado Boulder, the Denver Zoo, and San Diego Zoological Society. Dong Thang Hai also has conducted an ecological study at this site working with the Vietnam Forestry University and the Australian National University. The University of Colorado Boulder, Denver Zoo, and local scientists have also been conducted research focusing on potential overlap in  resource use by human and Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkeys at Khau Ca.

Going forward, conservation actions to preserve this species should include: gun confiscation programs in areas surrounding present populations of Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkeys; actions to mitigate impacts of cardamom cultivation at Tung Vai; continued efforts to establish a protected area designation Quan Ba with a focus on appropriate zonation; habitat restoration and expansion program for the Khau Ca forest area; review boundary of Du Gia – Dong Van NP ensuring that ecologically important habitat is protected (particularly on the southern edge of Khau Ca) and then clear demarcation; habitat protection of the forest corridor linking Khau Ca forest and Du Gia forest; and intensive population survey in Tat Ke, Ban Bung, Cham Chu, and Du Gia.

Action Plan

A Conservation Action Plan for the Tonkin Snub-Nosed Monkey in Viet Nam - 2006

Location Information

This species is confined to a few areas in northeastern Viet Nam east of the Red River (Fooden 1996, Groves 2001, Nadler et al. 2003, Le Khac Quyet and Covert 2010). Its distribution has become dramatically restricted in recent decades due to massive deforestation and intensive hunting (Nadler et al. 2003). It is currently known only from small forest patches in Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang Provinces (Le Khac Quyet and Covert 2010, Nadler and Brockman 2014).

Population Information

Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey has recently been observed in Na Hang Nature Reserve in Tuyen Quang Province and in Khau Ca Forest and Tung Vai Forest in Ha Giang Province. It is also possible that it still occurs in Cham Chu Nature Reserve in Tuyen Quang (Le Khac Quyet and Covert 2010). A study of the Tat Ke sector of the Na Hang Nature Reserve in 1993 estimated a density of fewer than eight individuals/km² (Le Xuan Canh and Boonratana 2006). The latest study at this location, in 2009-2010, found far lower densities. It is thought that hunting pressure is the reason for low densities in Tat Ke Sector. The highest estimate for any one population was in the Ban Bung sector of the Na Hang Nature Reserve, at between 90 and 110 individuals in 1992 (Ratajszczak et al. 1992). There has been significant population decline in both sectors of the Na Hang Nature Reserve, Tat Ke and Ban Bung (Le Xuan Canh and Boonratana 2006, Thach Mai Hoang 2011). Understanding of the number or the size of the subpopulations, with the exception of Khau Ca, is poor: with estimate of ca 20 individuals in Na Hang Nature Reserve (Thach Mai Hoang 2011); lack of recent observations at Cham Chu Nature although it may still occur at this site (Dong Thanh Hai et al. 2006); 130 individuals confirmed in the Tonkin Snub Nosed Monkey Species/Habitat Conservation Area at Khau Ca (Le Khac Quyet, pers. obs. 2015); and possibly 30-40 individuals in Tung Vai forest of Quan Ba District, Ha Giang Province, close to Chinese-Vietnamese border (Nguyen Van Truong 2012). Thus, the global population estimate at approximately 200-250 individuals may be higher than it is in the wild.


These animals are threatened from habitat degradation and hunting pressure, with the latter being the most immediate threat to this species (Nadler et al. 2003). Although this species is not usually targeted for bushmeat hunting due to its "foul-taste", it is shot when encountered, and consumed or used in traditional "medicine" (Nadler et al. 2003, Le Xuan Canh and Boonratana 2006). It has been found in trade in China, where it may be used for "medicinal" purposes (Nadler pers. comm.), although this is likely to be limited activity. With the exception of the Khau Ca forest population, there is high hunting pressure in the area where it lives, as evidenced by several gunshots heard almost daily during field trips (2004-2005) in the Na Hang Nature Reserve (Le Xuan Canh and Boonratana 2006) and observations of hunters camps (Thach Mai Hoang 2011). Shifting and settled cultivation, as well as other land development activities, also pose a threat (Nadler et al. 2003, Le Xuan Canh 2006, Le Khac Quyet et al. 2007, Covert et al. 2008, Le Khac Quyet and Covert 2010). In the past, excessively intense and unsustainable legal and illegal logging and gold mining were the biggest threats. Recently, the development of a hydroelectric power project along the Gam River in Na Hang has seriously impacted its habitat, plus the sudden increases in human populations, especially construction workers, have led to increased demand for meat, and thus increased hunting pressure (Le Xuan Canh and Boonratana, 2006). At the present time, hunting pressure continues to be high in Na Hang. In the Tung Vai area the largest threat is extensive cardamom cultivation and the population at Khau Ca is primarily threatened by an ongoing low level of habitat degradation.


IUCN Red List Account Link

Please click here to see the species' IUCN Red List Account page.

Photo Credits

Nguyen Van Truong (category and featured image)