Hainan launches center for the study and protection of gibbons in Haikou

The Hainan Gibbon which is under state protection, is the oldest surviving gibbon in the world.

China’s Forestry Administration approved the establishment of the Centre for the Protection and Study of Hainan Gibbons. 

The announcement was made following the results of an international symposium held on August 20-21 in Haikou on the problem of protecting endangered Hainan Gibbons.

The new research center will operate under China’s Forestry Administration. The symposium also announced the establishment of the Hainan Gibbon Volunteer Conservation Association.

Hainan launches center for studying gibbons in Haikou
Hainan launches center for the study and protection of gibbons in Haikou

“The Hainan Gibbon, under state protection, is the oldest surviving gibbon in the world. It can be found only in Hainan. 

Currently, there is only one population of these primates, numbering 30 individuals, which live in the rainforests of Hainan Island. The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the Hainan Gibbon an endangered species, which tops the list of 25 other endangered primate species in the world,” local media reported.

The symposium participants stressed the importance and urgency of the task for Hainan, China and the whole world to protect the Hainan Gibbon population and restore the tropical forests which is their natural habitat. 

Due to uncontrolled hunting and large-scale deforestation, the number of Hainan Gibbons on the island fell from 2000 in the 1950s to 7 in the 1980s. 

Hainan launches center for the study and protection of  gibbons in Haikou
Hainan launches center for the study and protection of gibbons in Haikou

To save them from total extinction, local government created the Bawanlin Nature Reserve where the last surviving primates of this species were discovered. 

Following that move, an intensive planting of trees, which are vital for these primates, was initiated in the conservation area. Over the past two decades, about 100,000 trees were planted, which allowed the restoration of the forests to some extent.

The Hainan Gibbons, living only on this island, rarely descend to the ground, preferring to live on trees at an altitude of about 10 meters. All these factors significantly complicate their maintenance and population growth in artificial conditions.

Source: Tass

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