The First Protection Network for Snub-nosed Monkey Was Established in Yunnan

2019/9/19 13:46:00

A protection network for the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey was established on Monday in Southwest China's Yunnan province, marking July 15 as the first Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Day. By drawing more public attention to protection efforts, the province's first wildlife safety network aims to help protect the endangered species through work by the government, private groups, and researchers.

Male Yunnan snub-nosed monkey with her child, which was born in white and will turn grey after months

The Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) is the primate living at the highest altitude in the world, and only distributes in China. It was categorized as endangered in the 2003 red list of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The monkey is now under first class protection in China.

Due to hunting, deforestation, and local livelihood development, the snub-nosed monkey was ever believed extinct. By decades' effort by government, researchers, NGOs, and local activist, the monkey was re-found and the population restored and increased gradually to more than 3000 - most of them distribute in the Northwest of Yunnan and few in Southwest of Tibet.  

 the routine patrol by local people

Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey Range-wide Conservation Network (in short YSMRCN) is initiated by 13 organizations, including the Yunnan Forestry and Grassland Administration, Yunnan Green Environment Development Foundation (YGF) , Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The secretary office of the network is settled at YGF.  

The network will be managed by local government sectors and welcomes efforts from non-government organizations, research institutes, civil groups and the public.

snub-nosed monkey protection network

Member delegates of Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey Range-wide Conservation Network

As one of the world's most endangered primates, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey is considered a bellwether species for biodiversity in the high-altitude region, according to Wang Weibin, deputy director of the Yunnan Forestry and Grassland Administration. The protection will also benefits for other wild species in the same region, therefore the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey is also called "umbrella species".

Since the 1990s, Yunnan has strengthened the protection of the species by cracking down on illegal hunting and smuggling and by designating about 480,000 hectares of habitat for the species. In 2011, the Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Research Center was launched in the Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve - its main habitat in the Diqing Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Yunnan - to encourage research and cooperation between government sectors and research institutes as well as colleges.

YGF board director Ms. Zou Hengfang (left) award YSMRCN chairman flag to Mr. Xie Hongfang (director of Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve)

Although the monkey's protection has seen remarkable success in recent years, the effort faces many challenges, such as lack of financial support, low public awareness and the conflicts between habitat protection and local economic development. Wang said lessons learned from the protection work will benefit other endangered wildlife in the region. He is looking forward to learning more creative protection methods through the establishment of the network and promoting those methods to save other species.

Cai Wucheng, deputy head of the Diqing Tibetan government, said he hopes the network will encourage more young people to join the wildlife protection campaign. "Through promoting sustainable and eco-friendly economic development, I believe more local people will take a more active part in the protection work," Cai said.

In the future, under the guidance of the Yunnan Forestry and Grassland Administration, the network will take effort to coordinate and to improve collaboration of the protection strength from different sectors. YGF, TNC and other non-government sectors will play important role at motivating exchange and collaboration among the members, and will support implementation of relevant projects through philanthropic fund-Yunnan Golden Monkey 3000+ (launched by YGF), which is going to focus on the patrol, monkey's population monitoring, habitat protection & restoration, conservation biology and ecological behavioral related research, monkey-friendly community development & sustainable livelihood, public propaganda and promotion.

group photo for Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey Range-wide Conservation Network Meeting participants in Shangri-La

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