Mystery of the Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey

(A.K.A. Tracing the Black Snub-Nosed Monkey)



The Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey is the only primate in the world, except humans, that lives above 3000 meters. With less than 1500 monkeys isolated in the dark alpine forest in southwest China this species is extremely endangered due to illegal poaching and excessive logging of the old-growth forest. Because of itsʼ extreme elusiveness, very little scientific study has ever been conducted since its discovery in the late 1800’s.
Xi Zhinong had spent many weeks in the freezing Yunnan mountains, making a film about the monkeys, when he discovered that a logging company had been given local permissions to head straight into snub-nosed monkey territory… 10 years in the making, this film has not only recorded the first in-depth ecological study of this species and its discovery, but also documents the conflict between the local peoplesʼ life style and the preservation of this unique species.

Positive results:

Historically China has not been well known for its wildlife filmmaking, but thanks to Xi Zhinong, his film and photographs have without a doubt saved the Yunnan snub nosed monkey from extinction in the wild.

Upon discovering the logging companies plans, Xi Zhinong took the extremely brave step of writing to the highest authorities. A copy of his letter was leaked to the press, and the story went international, aided by his film.

“The plight of the monkeys stirred the emotions of the Chinese public and inspired Beijing students organized a ʻgreen campʼ. Their pilgrimage to the mountains caused a media frenzy. Zhinongʼs award-winning film about the monkeys brought a final end to the logging companyʼs plans, and the government was compelled to end the illegal deforestation. Since then, Yunnan snub-nosed monkey numbers have increased. The story is now legendary, showing how, by using film, photography and the media, it was possible to turn a little-known animal into a national cause and by doing so, save both a species and a forest.” Harriet Nimmo

Other Achievements::

Wildscreen Panda Award to promote filmmakers from developing countries – Winner 2002 Best Asian Film Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Toyama, Japan – Winner Xi Zhinong has also won the “Earth Award” in 2000, China’s highest award for environmental protection & the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife.


Filmmaker: Xi Zhinong
Production Company: Wild China Films
No. 137 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, China Tel: +86 (10) 62121597 Fax: +86 (10) 62121597 Email:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>