Mainland scientists are developing facial recognition technology so they can create an identity database of monkeys, Xinhua News Agency reports.
A research team composed of scientists from Northwest University in Xi'an are hoping to use the technology to study the whereabouts and behaviour of golden snub-nosed monkeys living in the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi province.
Xinhua said the system is currently able to recognise about 200 monkeys, despite the fact that they are hairier than humans with only subtle facial feature differences.
"We take 700 to 800 photos of each monkey, while the recognition rate can reach 94 percent," said Zhang He, a member of the research team.
But team leader Li Baoguo noted that the monkeys were not making things easy for them.
"We need more high-resolution images to improve the recognition rate. But that is extremely difficult as the monkeys don't cooperate with the cameras in the wild," Xinuha quoted Li as saying.
The Qinling Mountains are said to be home to about 4,000 golden snub-nosed monkeys, along with a huge variety of plants and wild animals including giant pandas.