A new conservation strategy for China—A model starting with primates

Ruliang Pan, Charles Oxnard, Cyril C. Grueter, Baoguo Li, Xiaoguang Qi, Gang He, Songtao Guo, Paul A. Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although the evolutionary history of primates in China dates to the Eocene, and includes major radiations of lorisids, hominoids, cercopithecines, and colobines during the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene, extensive human-induced habitat change and deforestation over the past few centuries has resulted in 22 of 25 extant species listed as threatened or endangered, and two species of gibbons extirpated in the last few years. This commentary briefly reviews factors that have contributed to the decline of primates in China over the past 400 years, and in particular how major social events and economic development in modern China have resulted in unsustainable environmental change. In response, we describe our efforts to develop a strategic scientific, educational and conservation partnership in China, focusing on primates, in which GIS technology will be used to integrate geographical profiles, climatic information, and changes in land use patterns and human and nonhuman primate distributions to highlight issues of immediate concern and to develop priority-based conservation solutions. Our goal is to evaluate how human-induced environmental change has impacted primates over time and to predict the likelihood of primate population extinctions in the near future. This model represents an early warning system that will be widely available to the Chinese government, public, educational institutions, researchers, and NGOs through social media and educational videos in order to arouse public awareness and promote wildlife conservation. We encourage colleagues across a broad range of academic disciplines, political ideologies, and the public to help move this strategy into reality, the sooner the better. Am. J. Primatol. 78:1137–1148, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1148
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


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