Protection of rare monkeys helps increase villagers’ income in SW China

(People's Daily Online) 15:04, July 21, 2021
Protection of rare monkeys helps increase villagers’ income in SW China
Photo shows Phayre's leaf monkeys. (Photo/Zheng Shanhe)

Local government efforts to enhance ecological conservation and develop eco-tourism in Shuijing village, Xuangang township, Mangshi city under Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan province, in recent years has led to the rise of monkey-watching, which has helped boost the incomes of residents.

Under the guidance of local governments, local communities have rallied behind the ecological conservation efforts, and the number of Phayre's leaf monkeys, an endangered species under national first-class protection that once saw a dramatic drop in Shuijing as a result of deforestation, has been rising steadily due to the improved environment.

The village, now home to over 140 leaf monkeys, has been rationally exploiting the species to develop eco-tourism since they were photographed in January 2018 by Zheng Shanhe, a local nature photographer. Since then, Shuijing has become a magnet for Chinese wildlife enthusiasts.

Some villagers have started working as “monkey guides”, taking visitors on trips to forests.

Huang Qibang, 42, is one of them. His guiding service earns him at least 2,000 yuan (about $308.50) per month. In addition, some visitors also buy local specialties from him, further increasing his income. Due to the influx of tourists, Huang plans to run homestay and agritainment businesses.

While benefiting from the development of eco-tourism, local governments have stepped up efforts to further protect the monkeys. With the support of higher levels of government, Shuijing has installed various cameras to better monitor the habits of the species and set up a nature education center. The village has also assembled a team of forest rangers to protect the species, which is also helping to boost villagers’ incomes.

Huang also serves as a forest ranger. He patrols forests for at least 22 days each month and promptly reports the population and conditions of the monkeys to the township forestry station. Huang brings in 1,800 yuan a month from the job.

The village has also encouraged residents to plant traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, including dendrobium officinale, bringing another source of revenue for villagers.

Huang is one of those to have benefited from the plantation industry. “I can earn more than 50,000 yuan every year by growing about 0.27 hectares of the plant,” the man said excitedly.

A group of about 320 leaf monkeys now live in their habitats in Mangshi, forming the largest population of this species in a single region in China. The city is currently making efforts to further improve conditions for this precious resource. 


(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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