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Potential habitat corridors and restoration areas for the black-and-white snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti in Yunnan, China

  • Li Li (a1), Yadong Xue (a2), Gongsheng Wu (a1), Diqiang Li (a2) and Patrick Giraudoux (a3)...

The black-and-white snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti is endemic to China, where its population is fragmented into 15 isolated groups and threatened despite efforts to protect the species. Here we analyse possible habitat connectivity between the groups reported in Yunnan, using genetic, least-cost path and Euclidean distances. We detect genetic isolation between the northern and southern groups but not among the northern groups. We show that genetic distance is better explained by human disturbance and land-cover least-cost paths than by Euclidian distance. High-quality habitats were found to be more fragmented in the southern part of the study area and interspersed with human-influenced areas unsuitable for black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys, which may explain the genetic isolation of the southern groups. Potential corridors are identified based on the least-cost path analysis, and seven sensitive areas are proposed for restoration. We recommend (1) that restoration is focused on the current range of the monkeys, with efforts to reduce human disturbance and human population pressure and increase public awareness, and (2) the development of a long-term plan for habitat restoration and corridor design in the areas between groups.

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