The Myanmar Snub-Nosed Monkey is mostly black, with
protruding white ear tufts, a mostly naked face with pale pink skin,
a "moustache" of whitish hairs above the upper lip, and a distinct
white chin beard. The lips are prominent, and the nose upturned,
allegedly causing the animal to sneeze in rainy weather. As an adult
male, it has a length of 55.5 centimetres, and a tail 78 cm long.
They spend their summer months in northern Burma and China in temperate
mixed forests at upper altitudes of their range, and descend to
lower ground in the winter to escape snow. The species is known
in local dialects of Lisu people as mey nwoah and Law Waw people
as myuk na tok te, both of which mean "monkey with an upturned face,"
and when first discovered in 2010, they only were known to live
in three or four groups of 260 to 330 individuals within a 270 square
kilometres range at 1,700 to 3,200 metres above sea level in the
eastern Himalayas, in the north-eastern section of Kachin State,
the northernmost part of Burma. In 2011, a small population of a
hundred was discovered in Lushui County, Yunnan, China in the Gaoligongshan
National Nature Reserve. The species is isolated from other snub-nosed
Rhinopithecus by the Mekong and the Salween rivers; the other 4
species, golden, black, gray and Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys, are
found in China and Vietnam. The snub-nosed group of monkeys diverged
from other Asian monkeys about 6.8-6 million years ago, and from
Nasalis and Simia clade about 1.2 Ma. Various species of the snub-nosed
group split from each other about 730,000-400,000 years ago. It
is recognized as critically endangered by the IUCN; its unique appearance,
behaviour and vulnerability make it outstanding in conservation
issues, but it is seriously threatened by hunting and wildlife trade,
illegal logging and forest destruction linked to hydropower schemes
and associated infrastructure development.
A Star in the Making
The boy playing air guitar
before the bedroom mirror -
as much goes into the sweep of hair,
the cock of the head,
the strut, the leer,
as in all the make-believe fingering.
It's a Saturday afternoon.
He studies the bands on YouTube,
especially the guys blasting notes
out of their Gibsons, their Stratocasters.
If only he had the instrument.
If only he had the nerve.
If only he was someone else
and not the pimple-faced kid
that spotlight's never once fallen on.
With a flurry of wild strumming,
a grunt, a growl,
he ends the number,
bows his head,
awaits the screaming applause.
Nothing but a cool breeze
through the open window.
But maybe, just maybe,
the wind picked up a little.
John Grey is an Australian poet, and US resident. Recently published in
Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review
and Columbia Review
with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East