Yakushima zaru

Macaca fuscata yakui

Japan has four main lands and thousands of islands scattered on the ocean. Yakushima is an island located 70km out from the south tip of Kyusyu which is the most west land of Japan. There is the Nansei islands chain which seems the long tail of the Japan on the east china sea and enlongs to near the Taiwan. Yakushima belongs to it and positions the northern tip of it.

Over one hundred kilo meters costline and mountains reached 1936 meters height is the most discriminative properties of the island that has been known with many scenic locations for tourism.

Yakushima is called island of woods. The cedar forests reache the nearly summit area of the island and having the over thousands years old trees inside. The broadleaftree forests outlined the island, which has pure wild habitats of monkeys. Because monkeys in Yakushima has been thought as a sub spices of Japanese monkeys (Macaca Fuscata) that have their life in main lands of Japan, they called Yakushimazaru or sometimes Yakuzaru. Both means monkeys of Yakushima.

Photo:Yakushima monkey
Yakushimazaru shows some different appearances while comparing to Japanese monkeys called as Nihonzaru. They have a stockier body and darker hair.

Habitat of the monkeys are spreaded from the coastline to near the summit of mountain. The forests in lower altitude have various broadleaftrees that give enough food for monkeys. Large part of monkeys of the island lived there. They spend mostly daytime for searching their food by walking around the floor of the forest using four their legs.

However somtimes they turn to stop the walking and having a break which is the time for grooming togther. Grooming behaviour of monkeys is considering that it has the social function to bond relationships, like as you call a freind even when you have nothing to talk about. It seems that they spent much time for this purpose.

As your knowledge of monkeys, ofcourse Yakushimazaru have good skill for climbing on the trees and also jumping to other branches little away without missing. Sometimes they use this ability for taking a food over the tree, although I think they tend to prefer walking on the ground.

Some troops are in the higher mountain areas which reaches about 1900 meters sea level. Actually, I have a experience to see them when I have been in near the summit. It's thinkable that there are less food and frequently they are under the bad weather conditio. But they have select having their life at there. However, I can not take the way to know about their life more.

Photo:A coast in Yakushima Photo:Gajumaru tree in the forest

A view of Yakushima coast.

A big gajumaru(banyan) tree. This kind of tree can be found only in the forests at low latitude

Photo:Two monkeys at seaside Photo:Albino monkey

Monkeys at seaside. The monkey in the right picture has lighter colored hair because he is an albino.

Photo: Monkey Photo: Two Monkeys

Monkeys in the broadleaf tree forest.

Photo:Monkey holding her baby

A female monkey has been holding a baby.

Photo: Monkeys [Grooming] Photo: Alpha male
Photo: Monkys [Grooming] Photo: monkey on a branch.
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All pictures were taken at forests in Yakushima. To preserve wild animals, I will not prvide more detailed information where I took these pictures.

ferry Kigensugi
About Yakushima

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snow monkey Snow monky: Photo. Mitsuaki Iwago
Iwago is the most famous animal photographer of Japan. He spent three years for the work. Hard cover titled snow monkey published in 1996. Recently handy size paper edition was also published. this edition adopts brief English descriptions.
postcard ポストカード ヤクシマザル 1
Postcard shop
A postcard of Yakushima monkey was made.

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Copyright(C)1996 Masashi Koizumi

I always welcome to hear your comment!