Hainan’s approach to gibbon conservation featured at COP15

By Ding Xin / hicn.cn / Updated: 16:59,15-October-2021

On October 14, at a forum during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng spoke once again to the world on Hainan’s excellent work in biodiversity conservation, outlining a case study on the Hainan Gibbon.

Hainan Gibbon/HAINAN DAILY

"This is a nature-based solution that is highly recognized by international experts and has been pursued under the guidance of the Hainan Provincial Government and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration." In his keynote speech, Zhang  described the background, culture, and scientific significance of gibbon conservation in Hainan, and shared in detail the four key points that make the "Hainan model" of gibbon conservation successful.

He pointed out that the establishment of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park protects the original habitat of the Hainan Gibbon, while policies on natural forest protection and poverty alleviation have turned loggers into forest guards and gibbon guardians. Special law enforcement teams, the development of an international platform for open cooperation, and mobilizing the participation of the entire society form a systematic protection mechanism. In this context, international and domestic parties have participated in various projects designed to help Hainan gibbons recover from the brink of extinction and grow to the current population of 5 groups of 35 gibbons. This has been done by exploring the risk factors and population restoration paths for the Hainan Gibbon, scientifically carrying out habitat restoration, and cultivating plants that the gibbons use as food sources.

Zhang Xinsheng believes that the rare case of the Hainan Gibbon’s natural restoration process, with no artificial intervention in their reproductive process, nevertheless offers a practical case study for a nature-based conservation solution.

"Hainan gibbon protection has begun to take effect, but it is still in a critical state. There is a long way to go in  protection and restoration,” said Zhang. Next, they will follow the proposed roadmap, which charts the path to doubling the current gibbon population over the next 15 years. Zhang also issued an appeal: "The Hainan Gibbon belongs to not only Hainan, but also to China, and to the whole of humanity. Come together to protect our close relatives and to build a shared future for all life on earth!"

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