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Ex-hunters help protect rare Yunnan monkey species

By Li Yan (People's Daily Online)    15:59, July 12, 2017
Ex-hunters help protect rare Yunnan monkey species
Snub-nosed monkeys

They were once poachers, but now they have became protectors of snub-nosed monkeys.

46-year-old Yu Lizhong leads a 25-strong team in charge of protecting Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys. Living in the mountains, Yu’s family used to make a living by hunting the monkeys.

Yu’s hometown, Xianggujing, is one of the main habitats for the rare monkey species in southwest China’s Yunnan province.

Yu began to realize the importance of protecting the monkeys in 1983 when China set up the first natural protection zone for Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys, the Baimaxueshan Nature Reserve.

A staff with the nature reserve, He Xinming, said the most effective way of protecting the monkeys was through raising public awareness. Government on its part has stepped up conservation efforts by creating nature reserves, putting in place rules and policies and offering secure and better environment for the rare ape species to live.

To create awareness amongst villagers on living in harmony with nature, the nature reserve has installed solar energy for them and distributed energy-efficient stoves to promote environment-friendly life styles.

Yu is happy to note that government is stepping up protection of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys. In 2009, Yu was hired as a guard for the monkeys when a nature reserve in his hometown was opened to the public.

He earns RMB 1,500 ($220.6) a month, which has made his life better. More and more villagers are joining conservation efforts after realizing the importance of protecting the environment and wildlife.

There are now 60 Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys living in 11 groups. Yu has become so accustomed to them that he can even tell the features of each group.

Because of more efficient conservation methods, the number of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys rose from 300 in 2,000 to 400 this year, Yu Lizhong disclosed. Meanwhile, the total number of snub-nosed monkeys in China has increased to nearly 3,000 over the years.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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