Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

China makes significant progress in biodiversity conservation


Phayre's leaf monkeys, Yunnan Province. /VCG
Phayre's leaf monkeys, Yunnan Province. /VCG

Phayre's leaf monkeys, Yunnan Province. /VCG

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, will host the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) from February 26 to March 1, 2024.

The main topic of discussion during UNEA-6 will be how multilateralism may be used to address the triple global crises of pollution and waste, biodiversity loss and climate change.

Phayre's leaf monkeys  (Trachypithecus phayrei) have long, slender tails and glass-rimmed eyes coated in silver-blue fur. They weave in and out of the dense woods, hanging upside down, frolicking merrily, eating wild fruit, and drinking water by the stream. 

A group of Phayre's leaf monkeys were recently spotted and captured on camera in Dehong, southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Images showed a group of Phayre's leaf monkeys resting on branches and grooming each other. An adorable monkey infant with golden fur cuddled up against its mother. According to experts on wildlife, the newborns are golden, and their hair will gradually turn grey when they are about five or six months old.

The Phayre's leaf monkey is one of China's most endangered wild animals and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list. They are predominantly found in the tropical, deciduous and evergreen forests of northeastern India, eastern Bangladesh and Myanmar. In China, they are found only in the southern and southwestern parts of Yunnan.

Within the confines of Mangshi, a city close to the border with Myanmar, a patch of forest spanning approximately 1,600 hectares serves as a sanctuary for over 500 Phayre's leaf monkeys. Hunting and loss of habitat are two major factors threatening the species.

In 2018, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Kunming Institute of Zoology visited the area and launched a comprehensive survey of the Phayre's leaf monkeys. According to the research, about 320 leaf monkeys in five families were living in the forest.

According to the researchers, the forest, comprising part of the State-owned Mangxing Forest Farm and part of the collective forest belonging to villagers living in Xuangang township in Mangshi, was home to China's largest known population of the species.

In 2016, the prefecture's forest and grassland bureau hired local villagers as patrolmen to protect the collective forest. The target of their protection has since become the Phayre's leaf monkeys.

From December to mid-June, local villagers need to patrol the forest almost every day, tracking the monkeys' movements and eliminating any forest fire hazards. An average patrol route is six kilometers, and a longer one of more than 10 km will put them on a mountain path for the whole day.

With the help of a nearby non-governmental organization, a number of the villagers also formed a conservation monitoring team. With time, they broadened the scope of their efforts to protect the region's other endangered species, including the giant flying squirrel, bearcat, macaque, serow, clouded leopard, and serow.

Starting in 2020, the local government has customized an exclusive "canteen" covering an area of about eight hectares for Phayre's leaf monkeys, which is filled with winter cherry, paulownia and other tree species that the monkeys love to eat.

The local government also provides free environmental protection equipment and facilities such as solar water heaters to minimize the consumption of forest resources in community life.

As part of the effort, the Dehong prefectural government has also established a smart monitoring network, complete with infrared cameras installed in the forests.

The locals believe that with the joint effort of both the government and residents, more monkeys will live in harmony with them in the coming years.

Search Trends