Hainan Gibbon, a Native of Bawangling Tropical Rainforest

By / SSTV / Updated: 17:26,01-December-2021

As the most endangered primate in the world, the Hainan Gibbon only survives in the Bawangling tropical rainforest. Although Hainan gibbons are not easily found in the vast rainforest, the most effective way to locate them is by their sound.

At dawn, on Bawangling Mountain rainforest, local villagers and forest rangers usher in a new day with a chorus played by Hainan gibbons.

Han Wentao, who works in Hainan Gibbon Survey Station of Bawangling National Nature Reserve told the reporter that the call is for declaring territory and summoning family members.

The sound of Hainan gibbons’ calls is so loud that they can be heard several kilometers away. Han's job is to track and record these gibbons by listening to the calls.

Early in the morning, members of the gibbon survey team left their tin house on the mountain to carry out the survey work with binoculars, notebooks, cameras, sickles and other tools.

Soon after, the team found a female gibbon in a tree holding her baby. According to the team members, the cub's fur has become much darker than last month and it has grown bigger.

The baby gibbon that nestles in its mother's arms is one of the two baby gibbons found in March this year. Usually, Hainan gibbons are golden at birth. Their fur color begins to turn black when they are about 6 months old. When they become sexually mature, their fur color will gradually turn different. The fur color of an adult male gibbon is black while the female is golden. They always move and forage for food at the crown canopies around 15 meters above the ground, and rarely move down to small trees less than 5 meters in height. On Hainan’s Bawangling Mountain, the virgin forest has tall trees, enough fruits and rich vines, which is suitable for the survival of gibbons.

Wang Jinqiang, a member of Hainan Gibbon Survey Team said: “Bawangling Mountain is the only habitat for the Hainan Gibbon in the world, which means that we have done well in rainforest conservation. Hainan gibbons have beautiful booming calls.”

In order to protect Hainan gibbons, the Bawangling Provincial Nature Reserve was established in 1980, covering an area of 21.39 square kilometers. In 1988, it was upgraded into a national nature reserve by the State Council of China, with an area of 66.26 square kilometers. In 2003, the area of the national reserve expanded again, reaching 299.80 square kilometers. In the same year, the “Hainan Gibbon Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan” was issued. In 2020, the “Hainan Gibbon Conservation Action Plan” was formulated and released. In 2021, the population of Hainan gibbons has increased to 35 of 5 groups. In the next stage, Hainan plans to establish a professional survey system for the Hainan Gibbon and further strengthen international cooperation in its research and conservation.

“We endeavor to protect the rainforest and maintain a gradual population growth for Hainan gibbons. We hope that there will be Hainan gibbons all over the Island one day,” Wang Jinqiang said.

Zou Zhengchong, chief of Hainan Gibbon Survey Team, said that they shared the same home with Hainan Gibbons, so they should protect this rainforest well. Their generation has seen a lot of gibbons. He hoped their later generations can see more gibbons, which is also their mission.



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