Zoologists rule out extinction risk for China's unique wild monkey

21:09, August 05, 2010      

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Chinese zoologists cautiously declared on Thursday that the rare Yunnan black snub-nosed monkey might have avoided extinction, but its population growth would require more extensive and persistent care by local communities.

Long Yongcheng, head of the Expert Group for Primate Protection of the China Zoological Society and China Chapter chief scientist of the US-based Nature Conservancy, said the population of the species, which is unique to China, had risen by 750 since 1994 to 2,500.

"Judging from its current growth and reproduction, I think the species will not die out," he said.

In the mid 1990s, Long was among a group of Chinese zoologists who warned that emergency measures were needed to save the species after rampant logging in the mountains of southwestern Yunnan destroyed their habitats.

Dubbed a "national treasure" on a par with the giant panda, the Yunnan black snub-nosed monkey is scattered in a narrow swath of 2,000 square kilometers between the Jinsha and Lansang rivers. The area forms a significant ecological shelter zone in Asia and has a direct bearing on the ecology of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the Lancang-Mekong River Basin.

To protect the monkey's habitat, the government banned logging in the Jinsha River Valley in 1998 and launched a project in 2000 to encourage farmers to convert cultivated land into forest.
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(Editor:燕勐)

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