Wed, 08 Dec 2021

© Provided by Xinhua

HAIKOU, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The protection of Hainan gibbons has caught attention during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), which is highlighting China's biodiversity conservation efforts.

Zhang Xinsheng, chairman of the Hainan Institute of National Parks, discussed a Hainan gibbon protection case at the COP15 Ecological Civilization Forum.

Hainan gibbons, the most endangered of all gibbons and the world's rarest primate, are endemic to the southern Chinese island of Hainan.

Early last month, the administration of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park announced that two baby apes had been spotted, bringing the population of wild Hainan gibbons to 35.

Huang Jincheng, director of the park administration, said the sighting shows that Hainan gibbons are in good breeding condition, their living environment and conditions are steadily improving, and the natural ecological spaces have been restored and expanded.

In the 1980s, the population of Hainan gibbons was less than 10, making the species one of the most endangered around the world.

In order to protect the endangered species, the Bawangling Provincial Nature Reserve was established in 1980, covering 21.39 square km. It was upgraded to a national reserve in 1988, with its area expanding to 66.26 square km, and Hainan gibbons were added to a national first-class protected animals list.

In 2019, the pilot Hainan rainforest national park system was officially launched, further enhancing the protection of Hainan gibbons.

The pilot system has protected and restored the tropical rainforest in Hainan by implementing the strictest protection, carrying out habitat restoration, planting native tree species that the gibbons like to eat, and connecting isolated habitats with rope bridges.

Wang Jinqiang, 55, is a member of the Bawangling reserve's Hainan gibbon monitoring team. He and his colleagues live in the mountains for five days every month to track these gibbons.

During the National Day holiday earlier this month, Wang led more than 10 workers to plant trees for the gibbons on the mountain. The workers have planted approximately 10,000 such trees since late July this year.

"The move can help restore the tropical rainforest and expand the habitat of Hainan gibbons through artificial intervention, which is conducive to their improved reproduction," Wang said.

The protection of Hainan gibbons is a model for international cooperation in biodiversity conservation.

A great deal of scientific studies on Hainan gibbons at home and abroad has played a role in the decision-making for gibbon conservation in Hainan, said Hong Xiaojiang, an official with the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park Administration.

Local and international researchers have been directly involved in research on key topics concerning gibbon ecology, including conservation biology and habitat mapping, monitoring and restoration research, Hong said.

Focusing on doubling the Hainan gibbon population in 15 years, Hainan will continue with its habitat restoration and ecological corridor construction, and will continue increasing the number of plants that suit the gibbons' diet, Huang said.

Hainan will establish a professional monitoring team and system in five years to gain full and accurate information on the population and habitat conditions of Hainan gibbons, according to Tang Yanfei, executive dean of the Hainan Institute of National Parks.

Hainan will also take advantage of its access to both international and domestic experts to carry out international cooperation on the protection of Hainan gibbons, as well as systematic research on Hainan gibbons, Tang added.

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