Sometimes referred to as the LONG-NOSED MONKEY
(called BEKANTAN in Indonesia)

Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Proboscis monkeys are endemic to the southeast Asian island of Borneo, including all three nations that divide the island: Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. ​Proboscis monkeys inhabit mangrove forests along rivers and estuaries, swamp-land, and lowland rainforest and rarely range more than .6 mi (1 km) from water. They can also be found in wetlands that are not associated with the coast, such as swamp forests, limestone hill forests, rubber forests, and tropical heath forests. Populations that are found inland usually gather along rivers.

  • Proboscis monkeys live along the waterways of the most threatened habitats of Borneo
  • Webbing between their 2nd and 3rd toes allows them to swim masterfully and walk nimbly on soft mangrove
  • Males’ noses are larger than those of females; their bulbous noses produce honking sounds used in courtship
  • Their bloated bellies are a result of their speciealized digestive system
Endangered means that there is a high risk that they could become extinct in the wild.

Although fires, hunting, and illegal wildlife trade all are threats to proboscis monkeys, the major threat is habitat destruction. Waterways, their preferred habitat, typically the first areas to be disturbed by people.

Rampant clearing of rainforests (especially riverine forests and mangroves) for timber, palm oil plantations, and settlements has depleted and fragmented huge regions of their habitat.

Hunting is also a problem. Since proboscis monkeys are relatively slow-moving, they are relatively easy to hunt.

  1. Proboscis monkeys are rarely seen in captivity due to their special dietary needs. They are do not thrive in captivity and, in fact, die.
  2. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  3. Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
  4. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  5. Proboscis monkeys belong with other proboscis monkeys in Borneo. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the PROBOSCIS MONKEY Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
For questions or comments, e-mail us at [email protected].