Indo-Burma is a vast jungle land that encompasses two million km sq. of tropical Asia. It is located east of the Genges-Brahmaputra lowlands.  Although one thinks of this region as a rainforest it surprisingly hosts a mix of deciduous plant life as well.  Its weather patterns are varied based on the region. When winter rolls through to the central most part, it becomes dry, cold, and windy. But when it makes its way eastbound over the land it releases a fury of monsoons upon this jungle habitat.

It is a prevalent Hotspot due to a number of reasons. Most of the species that inhabit this region are threatened by over-harvesting of the land, extensive habitat loss, and personal/commercial hunting. Forest loss in this area can be attributed to the expansion of fruit tree plantations, illegal logging, and firewood collection. Only about 5% of natural habitats remain in fairly pristine conditions. In total 236,000 km sq. are officially protected, no thanks to the government of Indo-Burma, who invests very limited funds into the conservation of this region. Much of the funds come from outside donators including Denmark, Japan, the United States, and the Netherlands. The Chinese have a developed pallet so their traditional dishes consist of multiple endangered species. These include a wide array of turtles, snakes, tigers, and other species that they are slowly depleting due to over harvesting.

One of the inhabitants of this region that is under constant threat is the Grey-Shanked Duoc. It is among the world’s 25 most endangered primates. It has a large population size but the fact that they are endangered is due to the fact that they only exist in 5 mountainous regions in Vietnam.  Also for this same reason gives us hope that the Grey-Shanked Duoc will see another day. Since there are so many of them confined in small areas of Indo-Burma the survival of their species seems to be a reality that will exist in the near and extended future.This petit primate was discovered in Vietnam, and seems to be mainly  restricted to mountainous regions. These monkeys stay mostly tree bound leaping and bounding from one branch to another high up in the forests canopy.  They travel in groups and only indulge on the youngest and most tender leaves that they can find. The Wildlife Protection Law in Vietnam has placed this particular species under the highest protection that they can decree. But every now and then these  wiley apes make their way into various fruit tree farms, and the farmer’s don’t take kindly to their primate visitors.  They viciously hunt these monkeys with assorted rifles and baited traps.  It’s a constant battle out their for these monkeys, one that they are regrettably losing.  The Frankfurt Zoological Society recognizes a monkey in peril when they see one, which is why they have begun to study this species to provide recommendations for the establishment of  special Species Protection Areas which aim to bridge the geographical gap between these isolated monkey clans.

Indo-Burma.” Biodiversity Hotspots, Conservation International. Conservation International, 2007. Web. 5 Oct 2011. <;.>

Konstant, W. R. and Nadler, T. 2005. Grey-shanked Douc, Pygathrix cinerea

 Nadler, 1997. In: Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates 2004-2006, R. A. Mittermeier, C. Valladares-Pádua, A. B. Rylands, A. A. Eudey, T. M. Butynski, J. U. Ganzhorn, R. Kormos, J. M. Aguiar and S. Walker (eds.), p.29. Report to IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), International Primatological Society (IPS) and Conservation International (CI), Washington, DC.

Elluz Chong, Nicole Barone, and Callahan Qui. “Indo-Burma.” Environment Literacy Council. The Environment Literacy Council, 06 25 2008. Web. 5 Oct 2011. <>.

Conservation International, . “” Scientists find endangered grey-shanked doucs in Vietnam., 07 02 2007. Web. 5 Oct 2011. <>.


8 responses »

  1. Such an interesting post! I think because of the location of the hotspot on the area of developing countries, enlisted as Third World nations, it is so difficult to protect the environment. The Third World countries have different obligations to the global regulations regarding environment than e.g. the US or European countries. Obviously local governs of e.g. India and Vietnam face other significant problems regarding human rights. Also, the lack of awareness among the societies is a big problem. Without understanding how outstanding and unique species they have, it is very hard to keep on protecting the fauna and flora by international organizations and governments.

    The Grey-Shanked Duoc is yet another example of human ignorance. People did not only take their natural habitat through the process of development and urbanization, but treat the species as invasive animals, killing them for profit or just because of lack of awareness. I believe that educating the locals is a primary goal for all organizations working on saving endangered species.

    – Kasia (Katarzyna) Dybek

  2. Ally says:

    Before reading this article, I never heard of anything about the Grey-Shanked Duoc primates!
    Its sad to hear that another primate is mercilessly hunted. Even if its the farmers trying to protect their crops. The Grey-Shanked Duoc are rather unusual looking once I came across the picture. They’re facial shape and details are something i see quiet commonly in traditional Asian masks from Korea, China and even Japan!

    I found it most disturbing in general when i read that some Chinese traditions hunted various snakes, turtles and even tigers for some Chinese dishes! I almost find their efforts in trying to protect these beautiful creatures hypocritical cause some of them are still hunting them!

    Its quiet understanding that this region is known as a hotspot. The tropics of Asia if often overlooked by the rest of the world. Their only main source of money is from the crops they produce and possibly tourism depending on the location.


  3. The more and more I read through these blog posts the more obvious it is that humans are overwhelmingly the reason why almost every species is struggling to survive. May it be through the introduction of invasive species or through deforestation(as in this case), humans are creating situations where certain species just can’t live anymore. In addition to this the Chinese continue to enjoy traditional dishes that include several endangered species, obviously ignoring the fact that each animal could be lost forever… even tigers aren’t safe!

  4. kristysiciliano says:

    Extremely interesting, i wish the people there cared more about preserving the habitat for the animals so they have a place to feel protected and not have to worry about humans tearing the forest down or people hunting for these animals, it’s not fair to them.

  5. Ashley Raynor says:

    The Grey-Shanked Duoc is such a unique looking monkey, so different from other species. It’s a shame that it is so threatened. I wonder of there are conservatories specifically for this species in this region or elsewhere in the world?

  6. Grace Betts says:

    It’s really unfortunate to know how much the human population is disrupting the other species we share this planet with. But it is promising to know that the Grey-Shanked Duoc is thriving in it’s small but dense communities.
    Could this monkey be rehabilitated or transferred any where else in the world?

  7. I’ve never heard of the Grey-Shanked Duoc primate before, but it is upsetting that these and several other species are in dire need of survival because of human presence and how much of the world we’ve consumed the earth. Has there been any research on relocating these primates to other locations in the world for protection?

  8. This is one of the most concise and informative posts I’ve read. The threats to the hotspot and the story of one of its creatures were covered perfectly for this post. It was very easy to read. I’m glad the Frankfurt Zoological Society is getting involved in the life of the Grey-Shanked Duoc.

    ~CJ Hipp

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