Rare black crested gibbons found in Guangxi

Chinese researchers announced on Tuesday that they had found 17 wild black crested gibbons, a highly endangered species that was once even declared extinct in the 1950s, in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

After more than two months of tracking, the researchers spotted the gibbons in three groups in the Bangliang forest area of Jingxi County.

"Sightings of the gibbons show that forest ecology has improved significantly in Guangxi and that local people have become more positive in protecting wild animals," said Zhou Fang, an animal expert with Guangxi University, who participated in the investigations.

Sightings of the animal in Guangxi brought the total number of black crested gibbons in the world to about 50. In 2002, about 30 black crested gibbons were found in Cao Bang of Vietnam.

Black crested gibbons used to live in tropical forests in northern Vietnam and China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Their population dropped drastically due to poaching and destruction of their habitat.

The black crested gibbon is 50 to 60 centimeters long, with two forearms as long as its body. The male gibbon is black from head to toe and the female gibbon is golden, with a tuft of black hair on top of the head.

Luo Yongkui, deputy head of the regional forestry bureau, said that a special protection zone would be set up in the Bangliang forest area to protect the rare animals and their habitat.

Efforts will be intensified to crack down on poaching and the lighting of fires in the area, said Luo.

Guangxi is home to 8,354 kinds of higher plants and 848 varieties of land vertebrates, 25 of which are under top state protection.


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