Are Hylobates lar Extirpated from China?

Grueter, Cyril ; Jiang, Xuelong ; Konrad, Roger ; Fan, Pengfei ; Guan, Zhenhua ; Geissmann, Thomas

In: International Journal of Primatology, 2009, vol. 30, no. 4, p. 553-567

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    The Nangunhe Nature Reserve in Southwest Yunnan (PRC) has long been presumed to be the last stronghold of lar (or white-handed) gibbons (Hylobates lar) in China and the likely last place of occurrence of Hylobates lar yunnanensis. We conducted a comprehensive survey to assess the status of lar gibbons at Nangunhe. We found no visual or auditory evidence of them still residing at the reserve and therefore tentatively conclude that lar gibbons have become extinct in China. It appears that large-scale destruction of primary forests in the 1960s and 1970s brought about an initial decline in their numbers, and subsequent uncontrolled hunting has resulted in their extirpation. The situation for the six Chinese ape taxa is nothing less than disastrous, with 1 taxon assumed to have become extinct during the last few years, 1 taxon not having been confirmed since the 1980s, and 2 species at the very brink of extinction with only tens of individuals remaining in China