Hainan Black-crested Gibbon Is Headed For Extinction
- Cite this article as:
- Zhou, J., Wei, F., Li, M. et al. Int J Primatol (2005) 26: 453. doi:10.1007/s10764-005-2933-x
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Although Hainan black-crested gibbons have been on the list of the most endangered primate species in the world for many years, their environment is still deteriorating, especially on Hainan Island. Our findings indicate that the species is unlikely to survive the next decades unless efficient conservation policies and strategies are put in place immediately. Census data show that populations of the species used to occur across the whole island, but in 2003 only 13 individuals could be found, confined to a small region, the Bawangling Natural Reserve (19∘ 021–19∘ 081N and 109∘ 021–109∘131 E), in the western part of the island, covering only 14–16 km2. In other words, ca. 99% of the habitat has vanished in the past 300 years. Such dramatic change has pushed the species to the edge of extinction; only 2 groups and 2 solitary adult males, remained in 2003. Two adult females, 2 juveniles and one infant comprise Group A, in Dong’er, the core area of the western part of the reserve; and 1 adult male, 2 adult females, 1 juvenile and 1 infant formed another group (B), confined to another core area (Nanchahe) in the northern part of the reserve. The dramatic decline in the gibbon population has occurred due to vegetation reduction, ecological deterioration and extensive human impact. The forest cover was reduced from 95.5% 2000 years ago to just 4% in 1999; and the human population in 2003 was 330% larger than in 1950.