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Scientists provide lifelines to the rarest primates in the world

Researchers estimated their population to be 2,000 in the 1950s, but in the 1970s their numbers plummeted to single digits.

Released by Cadry Farm and Botanic Gardens on October 15, 2020, this handout shows the world’s rarest primates, the young Hainan black crested monkey and the adult female Hainan black crested monkey, on Hainan Island in southern China. I will. Photo: AFP

Paris-the rarest primate on earth, the Hainan black crested gibbons-was already endangered in 2014, when the most powerful storm that struck the Chinese coast in half a century struck an oasis on the island.

Decades of economic development, along with logging and deforestation, have reduced habitat by more than half.

The remaining primeval forest was also fragmented, further bordering tailless apes that traveled only on the ground.

However, the massive landslides unleashed by the super-typhoon Ramasan exacerbated the situation by digging a 15-meter-wide canyon into the mountain forest and effectively blocking the highways above the trees.

“The connectivity of the canopy is important to Gibbon because it is strictly arboreal,” Boscopuy Rockchan, the lead author of Hong Kong’s New Territories Cadry Farm and Botanical Gardens, told AFP.

“Therefore, forest fragmentation presents a major conservation challenge for Gibbon.”

After the typhoon, Chan and his team were responsible for protecting Gibbon and found that only dozens of them remained wild, but struggling to cross these new gaps in the forest. ..

And when they did, “they took a very dangerous route, including many long jumps and high falls between a few surviving trees,” he said.

Then Chan had a light bulb moment.

“We built a canopy rope bridge with two protrusions across a damaged tree highway,” he said.

The “bridge” consisted of two parallel ropes tied to a tree at both ends.

Conservation activists have also installed motion cameras to record movements on or across the rope.

The nine Gibbon groups most affected by this particular cut in the woods did not immediately utilize lifelines.

In fact, after only 176 days, the camera captured the first image of a gibbon on a rope.

But after that first crossing, others soon followed.

Duet at dawn

Some people walk across mountaineering ropes, like walking a tightrope, while others move down with their arms crossed.

Gibbon moving across the canopy is measured at speeds of over 50 km / h (30 mph) using this method.

Another preferred technique was to walk across one rope, holding a second rope overhead.

During 470 days of monitoring, researchers collected more than 200 photos and 50 videos of acrobatic ape behavior.

Chan described the rope suspension bridge as a “short-term solution.”

“Reforestation with native species should be a priority for restoring forest connectivity,” he said.

However, he added that his temporary measures still have “important conservation implications for other gibbons.”

Twenty species of gibbons have been identified, all in Asia. Most of the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species is either “Endangered” or “Endangered” (the last step before “Extinct in the Wild”).

The Hainan black crested gibbons (Nomascus hainanus) are endemic to the islands of China and are currently found only in the Hainan Bawanlin National Nature Reserve.

Researchers estimated their population to be 2,000 in the 1950s, but in the 1970s their numbers plummeted to single digits.

Adult males are jet black with a hairy coat of arms, and females are golden with a black crown.

Most gibbons are monogamous, but N. hainanus lives in a family with one male, two females and immature offspring.

Previous studies have shown that it is known to sing in duets at dawn, perhaps to mark their territory and strengthen their ties.

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Scientists provide lifelines to the rarest primates in the world

Source link Scientists provide lifelines to the rarest primates in the world

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