‘China brings real global example in biodiversity conservation’

MARSEILLE: From saving the rarest primate on Earth from the brink of extinction to escorting the epic adventure of wandering wild elephants through rainforest and jungle of concrete, China’s contribution to biodiversity preservation has been widely applauded by ecologists.
Hainan gibbon, the most endangered of all gibbons, is endemic to the southern Chinese island of Hainan. Dubbed as “Giant Panda of Hainan,” Hainan gibbon is currently found only in a single reserve, the Bawangling Nature Reserve, part of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park.
Earlier in March, the monitoring team found that two of the Hainan gibbon groups each added a baby ape, seven months old and six months old respectively, both in good health and growing well, bringing the population of Hainan gibbons from as few as seven to nine in the 1980s to five groups with a total of 35 individuals.
On Sunday, a report titled “The Hainan Gibbon Case Study: Effectively Saving a Critically Endangered Species” was released at the World Conservation Congress (WCC), which was running both online and in Marseille in southern France from Sept. 3 to 11.
This case was “a very important example of how we can be successful in the conservation of highly threatened species,” said Russell Mittermeier, chair of the Primate Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which co-hosts the WCC Marseille with the French government.
Vance Martin, president of the U.S.-based WILD Foundation, told Xinhua that the protection of the Hainan gibbons was “a very remarkable example of practical conservation and international collaboration” and “a successful model that the world needs.”
“The case is very special. Because of its extremely low number, this species should have been extincted, but it’s not. Why? Because of really enlightened leadership, international cooperation and experts who really care,” he told Xinhua.
“And there is the unique way that the leadership enlisted the local community and the local community wanted to do it. So by doing these several distinct elements this species came back from the brink of extinction, and they are breeding strong now,” he said.
The epic journey of wandering elephants in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, which went viral on social media this summer, was also cited by many experts to illustrate China’s success in preserving biodiversity.
Earlier this year, a herd of 14 wild Asian elephants — a species under A-level protection in China — strayed from their nature reserve. Heading north, they wandered some 500 km across southwest Yunnan Province before returning to their jungle paradise in August. – Agencies