Fresh hope for endangered primates
New Asian reserves could save species with just 300 individuals in the wild
Two of the world's rarest primates, the cao vit gibbon and the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, now have a more secure future after the creation of safe havens for them in China and Vietnam.
Once thought extinct, both species are now on the critically endangered list, with just 110 cao vit gibbons and about 200 Tonkin snub nosed monkeys left in the world, and it is hoped the new forest reserves will increase their chances of survival.
The British wildlife charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI), which works for wildlife protection in developing countries, was instrumental in setting up the new protected areas, which house the gibbon's only known population, and the most viable population of the monkey.
The new gibbon sanctuary, the 6,500-hectare Bangliang Nature Reserve in China's Guangxi Province, is directly adjacent to Vietnam's Cao Vit Gibbon Conservation Area, which FFI helped to establish in 2007. The Bangliang reserve more than quadruples the amount of protected forest for the gibbon, and the two protected areas together contain the world's last examples of the species.
"This increase in the amount of protected cao vit gibbon habitat is a huge success for FFI and for conservation in the region," said Luo Yang, FFI's China programme manager. "FFI has been encouraging the local government to establish this new reserve ever since the species was discovered in China in 2006. The cao vit gibbon currently lives mainly on the Vietnamese side of the border but it now has the chance to extend its population into China. The future for the species now looks much brighter."
The other protected area, in Khau Ca forest, in Ha Giang Province, northern Vietnam, contains 90 Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys. The new 2,000-hectare reserve also supports a relatively pristine sub-tropical forest with a wide range of other wildlife like macaques, lorises, small carnivores and rare plant species.
"This new reserve protects the most viable Tonkin snub-nosed monkey population and so represents the species' best chance for survival," said Paul Insua-Cao, the charity's Vietnam primate programme manager. "FFI is proud to have helped to establish the protected area and congratulates the provincial government and local communities on their new reserve."
The Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) is endemic to north-western Vietnam and was thought to be extinct until the 1990s. The cao vit gibbon (Nomascus nasutus) was also thought to be extinct until rediscovered by an FFI team in 2002. The main threat to both species is habitat loss.
From the blogs
A slight deviation from style this week and admittedly a bit weird, but at least I can finally say I...
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Justice, the bedrock of our society is for sale under the Government’s latest plan to sell legal aid...
Take inspiration from the green-fingered brigade who have been showing off their creativity at the R...
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.