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China's golden monkeys

China's golden monkeys, a rare species more endangered than giant pandas, have made a surprising comeback with populations quadrupling in the past two decades.

The snub-nosed monkeys, which are found only in southwestern Guizhou province, have risen in number from 200 in the early 1980s to around 800.

Despite its growing numbers, the animal is still endangered.

Poaching and forest fires are two of the main causes for the decrease in population, according to Yang Yeqin, director of Guizhou's Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, where most of the monkeys live.

The gregarious animals are also vulnerable to human diseases, such as tuberculosis, cholera and measles. Researchers believe that the number of the snub-nosed monkeys would not rise rapidly even if their habitats were enlarged. However, the numbers would drop dramatically if their habitats dwindled, which may lead to their extinction, said the researchers.

Wildlife experts said the animals' living space must be extended, monitoring and protection of their environment must be strengthened and a breeding base should be established to save the animals.


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