Denver Zoo is grateful for the strong network of partner organizations that contribute to the conservation of the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, as well as countless individuals working on the home front to affect meaningful change.
THANKS TO THE WORK OF DENVER ZOO AND OUR PARTNERS, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey may have a fighting chance. Fewer than 250 of these Critically Endangered primates are alive today, and more half of them live in a remote Vietnamese forest reserve. For nearly two decades, our Field Conservation team has been working to protect this special monkey community and its threatened habitat.
Read on to learn how our innovative Rocket Stove and other field conservation efforts have helped to double the population of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys currently living in the reserve—and light the fires of hope for the entire species.
THE TONKIN SNUB-NOSED MONKEY was thought to be extinct until 1989, when a small group was rediscovered. Hunted for food and used in traditional medicines, the species has lost a great deal of its natural habitat to local logging and agriculture. The trees that make up the monkeys' home also provide building and cooking materials for local farmers but the balance of human and animal forest use is no longer sustainable. So, Denver Zoo set out to reduce human reliance on this limited resource.
TO HELP CONSERVE WOOD AND PROTECT THE MONKEYS' HABITAT, Denver Zoo worked closely with our partners and local Vietnamese farming families to encourage the use of a simple "Rocket Stove." This innovation makes it possible for these families to cook their meals using half as much wood. Today, the use of our Rocket Stoves saves 6,500 tons of wood per year.
LOCAL PEOPLE ARE THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL CONSERVATION of the monkeys and their forest home. We recruit and train the next generation of conservationists from the communities surrounding the forest. They're students, stove builders and scientists...educators and event planners...and every single one is an ambassador. With their help, we host a variety of awareness events, campaigns and programs that continue to build momentum every year.
These include Monkey Day celebrations, a conservation calendar campaign, a Forest Appreciation Program for youth and the development of a science curriculum for local schools. Interacting with the community in these ways leads to positive attitudes about conservation and pledges from local people of all ages who want to take action to save the monkeys and the forest. Ultimately, it’s the choices local people make that will determine the fate of the Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys.
WE'RE THRILLED THAT THE EFFORTS OF DENVER ZOO and our partners have helped to more than double the population of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in the Khau Ca Reserve since 2002. But we also understand that the ongoing success of this program will require a great deal of continued support from the community, our partners and the government. Our conservation actions must continue to combine hands-on scientific research, community engagement and behavior change from the local people. Denver Zoo will continue to lead by example.
Since 2002, Khau Ca forest Tonkin snub-nosed monkey numbers have increased from ~60 to ~150.
850 Rocket Stoves reduce fuel needs by 50% and save 6,500 tons of wood/year.
We engage ~400 students + 7,000 citizens per year with curriculum + outreach activities.
IN ADDITION TO DENVER ZOO'S COMMUNITY-BASED ACTIVITIES, we’re also working to influence conservation at the legislative level. Dr. Amy Harrison-Levine, our Director of Field Conservation Programs, is currently working with regional and national government agencies in Vietnam, as well as other conservation organizations to develop a conservation action plan that will prioritize the study, protection and expansion of northern Vietnam’s forest reserves critical for Tonkin snub-nosed monkey survival. This plan will guide and support the future of conservation for these critically endangered monkeys.