Tim writes: The golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) is only found in China and is classified as endangered. It is found in forests at high altitude (1500-3400m) and feeds largely on lichens that grow on dead trees, but also on fresh leaves, buds and flowers. They occur in groups that range over a very wide area of around 40 square kilometers and they rarely linger in one place. This makes them extremely difficult to find. I spent three days in Tangjiahe nature reserve in Sichuan in 2017 but failed to find a single one. Three days at the same reserve in 2018 resulted in us finding a small group of three at surprisingly close range. This allowed us great views to see their long golden fur, ghostly blue face, snub-nose and long tail. They were also much larger than I was expecting, with males averaging about 18kg, with head and body around 68cm with a tail of similar length.
Its scientific name roxellana was named in 1870 by Henri Milne-Edwards after Roxellane (ca. 1505–1558), who was Consort to the Turkish Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent (1494–1566). She was a Russian lady of “doubtful repute” with long golden hair and a retroussé nose, characteristics shared by the monkey.