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Bonds beyond species: A nun, a monk and a monkey share a temple

By Zhao Ying


Xing Xing (meaning "star" in Chinese), a Tibetan macaque missing an arm, is the sole simian resident of Daliang Mountain in Ninghai County, Ningbo City, east China's Zhejiang Province. She's become an internet sensation due to her unique bond with the elderly Buddhist nun and monk who have cared for her for over 15 years.

Xing Xing's past was far from idyllic. She was originally engaged in a circus. A villager bought her back and released her to the Daliang Mountain. She lost her arm in a wild boar trap and came to the Yanghu temple by chance. The kind monk there called the local zoo to help remove the collar from her neck, offering her a safe haven. 

Every day, Xing Xing starts her morning with a meal at the nun's door, returning to the mountain at nightfall. Years of living alongside the temple's two elderly persons have instilled a certain human-like quality in Xing Xing. She skillfully shells peanuts and sunflower seeds, and even mimics the serene contemplation of the elderly nun and monk, gazing at the distant mountains from her favorite carved stone basin.

But her wild spirit remains strong. Like many wild animals, Xing Xing can act defensively if she feels threatened or startled. This can be surprising to tourists, but the nun and monk understand her nature. They ensure visitors maintain a safe distance, allowing Xing Xing to feel comfortable in her sanctuary. 

(Cover image via screenshot. Video directed and edited by CGTN‘s Zhao Ying, filmed by Hu Rui.)

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