Altitudinal movements of Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China: implications for conservation management of a flagship species.
ABSTRACT Primate movements can include a substantial altitudinal component, depending on the complexity of the landscape and the distribution of the inherent vegetation zones. We investigated altitudinal movements of Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) at Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China. The monkeys ranged at elevations between 1,350 and 1,870 m with an overall mean of 1,660 m. We did not find a significant difference in the mean elevations among seasons or evidence of winter migration to lower elevations. The monkeys exhibited a distinct daily altitudinal movement pattern that coincided with their activities. During the day, the monkeys consistently traveled from lower to higher elevations in the morning (98% of records) and then descended to lower elevations in the afternoon (96%). Hence, the mean elevation of night roosts was significantly lower (1,561 m) than those of feeding sites and day roosts (1,735 and 1,737 m, respectively). We suggest that this daily pattern of R. brelichi may reflect a trade-off between finding food and avoiding predation within the mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleaf vegetation zone at the study site, which may constitute the most important habitat for R. brelichi in the reserve.