China’s primates could disappear by end of this century, study warns

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta China has some 25 species of primates, of which 15 to 18 have fewer than 3,000 individuals surviving in the wild, according to a new study.Two species of gibbons have become extinct in China in just the past two decades, while two other species of gibbons have fewer than 30 individuals in the country.Researchers warn that primate distributions in China could shrink by 51 percent to 87 percent by the end of this century.Expanding suitable habitat for primates is critical, the researchers say, as is prioritizing a network of protected corridors that can connect isolated primate subpopulations. Most primates in China could be wiped out by the end of this century, a new study warns.China is the second-most primate-rich country in Asia, with 25 known species of non-human primates, including lorises, macaques, langurs, snub-nosed monkeys, and gibbons. Since the 1950s, though, primate populations have declined drastically, largely due to clearing of large tracts of forests for farmland and plantations; industry; roads, railways and other infrastructure; and urbanization. In this rapidly changing landscape, China’s primates are struggling to survive.Some 80 percent of China’s primates are currently listed as threatened (either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered) on the IUCN Red List, researchers report in the study in Biodiversity and Conservation, which reviewed the status of China’s primates.Of the 25 primate species, 15 to 18 have fewer than 3,000 individuals surviving in the wild. Two species of gibbons, the northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) and the white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar yunnanensis), have disappeared from China in just the past two decades. While the two gibbon species are present in other parts of Asia, their status is dire: they are listed as endangered (white-handed gibbon) or critically endangered (northern white-cheeked gibbon) on the IUCN Red List.“Such gloomy profiles actually did not surprise me — given I grew up in the countryside of China, engaged with zoology of the region for years and witnessed the procedures of environment damages,” co-author Ruliang Pan, an adjunct senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia, told Mongabay in an email. “My biggest concern, perhaps of all the co-authors’, is wondering how much time the primates in China still have to co-exist with humans. We used to have a great ape (orangutans) and two species of the gibbons, which became extirpated in just the wink of an eye.”Northern white-cheeked gibbon in Planckendael Zoo, Belgium. Image by Ad Meskens via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).Two more gibbon species could be heading toward extinction in China soon. The Hainan black crested gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) has only about 20 individuals left in the wild, all of them in Bawangli National Nature Reserve on the island of Hainan. Similarly, the eastern black crested gibbon (Nomascus nasutus) has only about 100 individuals across China and Vietnam, with fewer than 30 living in China.In fact, 13 of the 25 primate species in China have fewer than 1,000 individuals remaining in the wild. These include the recently named Skywalker hoolock gibbon (Hoolock tianxing), the pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), the Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala), the northern pig-tailed macaque (Macaca leonina), Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri), gray snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi), white-headed langur (Trachypithecus leucocephalus), and Shortridge’s langur (Trachypithecus shortridgei).To see how the primates would do in the future, the researchers modeled the effects of expanding agriculture on primate distributions over the next 25 to 75 years. They found that under the most “optimistic” scenario, which presumes the country moving toward a cleaner and more resource-efficient society, primate distribution will likely decline by 51 percent by the year 2100. Under the business-as-usual scenario, which assumes China will continue with its current national policies, gibbons, lorises and most langur species will be lost. Under the “pessimistic” scenario, which assumes that China’s national policies will allow agriculture to expand into currently protected areas, primate distributions will shrink by 87 percent by end of this century — that is, most of China’s primate populations will face extinction.“The modelling in the paper predicted some worst scenarios on primate status in China over the next 25-75 years,” Wen Xiao, a researcher at the Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research at Dali University, Yunnan, who was not part of the study, told Mongabay in an email. “It may not be that bad, because it is based on most rapid agricultural expansion data in China between 1961 and 1990; deforestation and agriculture expansion trend has stopped to some extent now as suggested in this paper. But people should know how bad it can be and be alert.”A pygmy slow loris. Image by David Haring/Duke Lemur Center via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).Pan said it was critical for the Chinese government to reshape its eco-social development strategies. “The good sign is that the current regime has started thinking about the problems.”The government has had some success with the Hainan gibbons, for example. By the 1980s, there were only 10 Hainan gibbons remaining in the wild, down from an estimated 2,000 in the 1960s. The population has grown slightly since then, with around 20 Hainan gibbons living in Bawangli National Nature Reserve, thanks to a reforestation program that had the goal of converting pine plantations into a mix of native and non-native forest.“The program has been aiming at increasing plants consumed by the gibbons; instead of planting exotic species, the seeds from the plants eaten by the gibbons were collected and planted in primary forest,” Pan said. This type of reforestation program that aims to restore and expand the naturally occurring foods and plant species that gibbons and other primates need is essential to their survival, Pan added.The Chinese government has set aside some 1.6 million square kilometers (620,000 square miles) under national nature reserves, provincial reserves or local reserves. But very few primates occur within the larger national reserves, the researchers say.“Although China has expanded its system of nature reserves (which has helped reduce deforestation and hunting within reserve boundaries but not in areas adjacent to reserves), and has allocated billions of dollars to reforestation, most of these programs are not designed to regenerate native habitats, which are crucial for primate survival,” the authors write in the paper.Northern pig-tailed macaque. Image by JJ Harrison via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).Expanding suitable habitat for primates is critical, as is prioritizing a network of protected corridors that can connect isolated primate subpopulations. More importantly, for China’s monkeys, langurs, lorises and gibbons to survive well into the future, the Chinese government, Chinese scientists, national and international conservation organizations, and the Chinese public must work together, the researchers add.“It is very necessary to have a joint international unit in China to oversee primate conservation issues, strategies and commitments,” Pan said. “Such a unit based in a Chinese university could bring together scientists, politicians, conservation organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, social media and public to efficiently and systematically carry on a series of conservation implantations. Such a mission could be practiced through sharing databases, information and research results, particularly scientific models for conservation.”Paul Garber, a primatologist at the University of Illinois, said in a statement that non-human primates represented our closest living relatives and played “an important role in maintaining the health of tropical forest ecosystems and serve as models for understanding human evolution, health, behaviour, biology, cognition, and sociality.”“China is facing a historic moment and has one final opportunity to balance economic growth and environmental sustainability, or face the unprecedented loss of animal and plant biodiversity,” he added.Lar gibbons at Salzburg zoo. Image by MatthiasKabel via Wikimedia Commons (Multi-license with GFDL and CC-BY 2.5).Citation:Li, B., Li, M., Li, J., Fan, P., Ni, Q., Lu, J., … & Huang, Z. (2018). The primate extinction crisis in China: immediate challenges and a way forward. Biodiversity and Conservation, 1-27. Animals, Apes, Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Gibbons, Governance, Green, Mammals, Monkeys, Primates, Research, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more