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Rhinopithecus avunculus | Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey


Best spot:  Khau Ca forest, Hà Giang Province, Việt Nam

© Le Khac Quyet

© Le Khac Quyet



Taxonomy & Occurrence

Rhinopithecus avunculus is a monotypic species (no subspecies). It is only found in northern Vietnam and nowhere else.


IUCN Conservation Status 

Critically Endangered


With fewer than 250 individuals in the wild, the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey is one of the most endangered primates in the world [1,2]. It is also Vietnam's largest non-human primate, with males averaging 30 pounds (13.8kg) and females 18 pounds (8.3kg) [3].


The name describes their remarkable upturned noses, which appear to be pressed back against the face. The face is bluish white, blue-black around the muzzle, and in adults the pink lips are enlarged to clown-sized proportions.


There is currently no information on the genetic variability of this species. My PhD research aims to examine just that (along with the genetic variability of two other species: Black-shanked Douc and Indochinese Silvered Langur), and how this information can help us better understand its conservation status. You may find out more here as I begin the genetic analyses.



Seeing this Species


The Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkeys are shy and elusive. They are also extremely fast. To catch a glimpse of them requires luck, patience and good physical fitness to keep up with them. They live in tropical evergreen forests within karst limestone hills which are also difficult terrain to handle.  


Khau Ca forest, Hà Giang Province, Việt Nam 

Due to their critical conservation status, you cannot visit the Tonkin Snub-Nosed Monkeys without a permit. Find out more by contacting me.


Probability of success: ◆ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇


Overlapping species: Pygmy Slow Loris, Assam Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Stump-tailed Macaque


Other sites:

Na Hang Nature Reserve, Tuyên Quang Province, Việt Nam


Overlapping species: François’ Langur 


Local contacts: You can contact me here at Primate Watching! 





Le Khac Quyet

© Tran Van Bang

Watching them watching us

Video by Andie Ang

Khau Ca, Vietnam

Gap crossing

© Le Khac Quyet

Khau Ca, Vietnam

Community patrol group, local research assistant team, and Quyet

© Le Khac Quyet

Khau Ca, Vietnam


[1] Le Xuan Canh, Le Khac Quyet, Dong Thanh Hai & Boonratana R., 2008. Rhinopithecus avunculus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 05 February 2014.

[2] Mittermeier R.A., Schwitzer C., Rylands A.B., Taylor L.A., Chiozza F., Williamson E.A. & Wallis J. (eds.), 2012. Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates 2012–2014. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), International Primatological Society (IPS), Conservation International (CI), and Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, Bristol, UK., p25.

[3] Sterling E.J., Hurley M.M. & Le Duc Minh, 2006. Vietnam: a natural history. Yale University Press, New Haven & London, p174. 












Page last updated: 21 April 2017

Tonkin Snub-nosed photos generously shared by:

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