Human activities and elevational constraints restrict ranging patterns of snub-nosed monkeys in a mountainous refuge.

Research paper by Pengzhen P Huang, Kun K Bian, Zhipang Z Huang, Qi Q Li, Derek W DW Dunn, Gu G Fang, Jiahui J Liu, Mengyao M Wang, Xianfeng X Yang, Ruliang R Pan, Cunlao C Gao, Kaichuang K Si, Baoguo B Li, Xiaoguang X Qi

Indexed on: 23 Sep '20Published on: 23 Sep '20Published in: Integrative Zoology


Both natural conditions and anthropogenic factors affect the survivability, distribution and population density of wildlife. To understand the extent and how these factors drive species distributions, a detailed description of animal movement patterns in natural habitats is needed. In this study, we used satellite telemetry to monitor elevational ranges favored by endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana), in the Qinling Mountains, central China. We investigated the abundance and distribution of food resources through sampling vegetation quadrats at different elevations and sampled anthropogenic activities using field surveys. Our results indicated that although there was no significant variation in food resources between low- (< 1,500 m) and middle-elevations (1,500 m - 2,200 m), monkeys were found most often in areas above 1,500 m, where there was less anthropogenic development (e.g., houses and roads), however monkeys rarely ranged above 2,200 m and had limited food availability at this altitude. There was limited human disturbance at this elevation. We suggest that both human activity and ecological constraints (i.e., food resources) have considerable effects on elevational use of R. roxellana in the Qinling Mountains. This study highlights the critical roles these factors can play in shaping the vertical distribution of high-altitude primates. This research provides useful insights for habitat-based conservation plans in which human disturbance management and habitat restoration should be prioritized. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.