China says that their gibbons are extinct

China has owned up and declared that two gibbon species living in China are extinct in the wild: the Yunnan lar (white-handed gibbon) and the northern white-cheeked gibbon. The Times reports that their calls were last heard more than a decade ago and the last sighting occurred longer ago than that. In fact, a specialist primate conservation group states that the species was last directly observed in 1988 and after two weeks of study a 14-member Swiss-Chinese team realised that the right-handed gibbon is extinct in the wild because of deforestation and uncontrolled hunting.

Yunnan lar extinct thanks to human activity and a bloody appalling attitude by the Chinese government to animal welfare and conservation
Yunnan lar extinct thanks to human activity and a bloody appalling attitude by the Chinese government to animal welfare and conservation. Image: ALAMY.

The Times reports that the white-handed gibbon has not been heard for at least 10 years in China and the northern white-cheeked gibbon has not heard for at least 15 years.

And further, the Chinese paddle fish and the dugong, the inspiration for the mermaid legends, have been declared extinct in the wild.

The lead researcher providing this latest depressing news, Li Baoguo, said:

“Primates around the world are faced with the crisis of extinction – more than 60% of them are classified as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered and 75% have seen their numbers declining. Human activities are the root cause of the biodiversity to decline at an unprecedented speed.”

Nothing will change, however. Humans are distracted by their own difficulties to survive.

There are 28 primate species remaining in China and more than 20 of them are threatened. Fifteen of these species have fewer than 3000 individuals making survival even more precarious (inbreeding).

The clearing of forests to grow corn in the 1950s and 60s have been blamed for the extinction of the white-handed gibbon. It is believed that the northern white-cheeked gibbon may have, in fact, been extinct in China since 2011. A 2017 survey could not find any.

Thomas Geissmann, the expedition leader of the Swiss-Chinese team mentioned above, said:

“The extinction of the Chinese white-handed gibbons is an urgent alarm signal because several other ape species in China are also endangered. We hope that our research results will alarm the Chinese government as well as international conservation agencies, and encourage them to initiate immediate efforts to save China’s last surviving apes.”

Comment: Are you surprised? I’m not because Beijing has an appalling relationship with animals. I have said it many times but there are no animal welfare laws in China of any note. There are no general animal welfare laws protecting animals. They eat anything on four legs. Yes, I know I’m being flippant and perhaps rude but it is the attitude of the Chinese people which counts when it comes to conservation. If you don’t care you end up with extinct species. And clearly, the Chinese government does not care. They are eating wild species to extinction. And the way they kill them makes me want to weep.

It is long past the time for China to modernise their attitudes towards animals. They are living in the ancient past in the name of culture.

P.S. International conservationists don’t care enough either. The IUCN specialist primate group’s website is tired and it needs updating; indications that they are asleep.

Some more on China:

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful Note: I will donate 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment made over the next three months on pages where comments can be made.
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Primates