Patrols help boost primate population

来源:纵横网 浏览量(2.1w) 2024-02-14 16:02:51

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A Phayre's leaf monkey holds its newborn infant. The infants are covered with yellow and white fur during their first three months of life. WANG JIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Patrols in collective forests owned by several villages in Xuangang township in Mangshi, Yunnan province, have led to a steady improvement in living conditions for the Phayre's leaf monkey.

A scientific survey conducted in 2018 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Kunming Institute of Zoology found about 320 of the monkeys in five groups in the 1,600-hectare natural subtropical forest in Mangshi.

Yang Kaisuo, a resident of Yangguang village in Mangshi, said about 500 now live in the forest, with the largest troop having more than 200 members.

"In the beginning, many villagers didn't care about our call to protect the monkeys," he told China Green Times. "When photographers came and they felt that visitors might bring some income to the villages, their attitude to conservation started to change."

The Yunnan Green Environment Development Foundation then supported Yang and five fellow villagers to establish a langur monitoring team.

In January 2020, the Mangshi Forestry and Grassland Bureau, the Yunnan Green Environment Development Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization, collaborated to establish the Mangshi Phayre's Leaf Monkey Habitat Protection Management Plan (2019-2023), outlining protective measures for the species in the area.

In September 2020, the Mangxing River Reserve project was launched online on the Ant Forest public welfare platform.

Within a week, 1,600 hectares of forest were pledged for protection by netizens nationwide through donations. Over the next five years, the reserve would receive nearly 2 million yuan ($280,800) in support from Ant Forest, primarily for patrol monitoring, ranger capacity building and other preservation efforts.

With the financial support, Yang and the other five members of his patrol team set up 20 infrared cameras in the forest, said Li Mingxian, the only female member of the team.

The cameras operate 24 hours a day, allowing continuous monitoring of specific locations, she said. The results obtained from each infrared camera act as pieces of a puzzle within the vast ecosystem, and when enough data is collected, the patrol members and researchers can analyze the information to understand the basic behaviors of Phayre's leaf monkeys living in the area. As a result, it is essential for the patrol members to regularly inspect the infrared cameras.

"At the end of each month, we trek up the mountains to check, replace camera batteries and retrieve data," Li told a local newspaper. "Every time I see photos captured by our infrared cameras, I feel our work is meaningful."

To further stimulate local enthusiasm for conservation, with the support of the local government, the city's Zhonghe and Qincaitang villages jointly established the Mangxing River Natural Ecology Conservation Association in January 2021.

Yang, who was elected to lead the grassroots organization, said its membership exceeded 130 within three months of its establishment, with the majority being local residents and forest patrolmen.

Thanks to these conservation efforts, the population of the langur has increased steadily.

Zhou Chengwei, an official with the city's forestry and grassland bureau, said a single troop of langurs living around Xuangang township added approximately 85 young monkeys from 2019 to 2021, with its population growing from around 98 in 2018 to about 183.