I almost hesitated to post this picture for two reasons. One is that the mission of this blog specifically excludes the "maimed," and apparently I am not the first to think that this animal looks like the victim of either a tragic accident or plastic surgery gone horribly wrong.
But this is the totally natural, unaltered appearance of the Tonkin Snub-Nosed Monkey, and I figured I better go ahead and post it because this animal may not be with us for much longer.
It's classified as critically endangered, one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world, and only a couple of hundred individuals remain in five isolated locations in Vietnam. It's so rare that it was believed extinct until its rediscovery in the 1990s.
This monkey isn't one of those animals that's going extinct because no one is paying attention. The group Flora and Fauna International has been working on its preservation for years, and even discovered a new population in 2008. But they recently announced that it's on the brink of extinction in one district, down to 20-30 monkeys.
The species is threatened by habitat loss and also by hunting, even though it's reported to taste pretty ugly too, so it's not killed for food. But it seems like its worst problem is that it doesn't know who its enemies are. One researcher reports that unlike most animals that are threatened by hunting, these monkeys didn't flee when they encountered her.
So there's the second reason I hesitated to write about this guy: I don't want to be part of his problem. So let me be clear to any Tonkin Snub-Nosed Monkeys that are reading: There may be some of us who love you, but if you see a human, don't stick around to chat about whether they read Ugly Overload. Just RUN AWAY.
(See a bunch more pictures here and thanks to @SpeciesoftheDay for the inspiration.)
-Your ugly primate friend,
Wombat (No Relation)