Conservation of China’s Yunnan province and the endemic Yunnan golden monkey through community education

The golden monkey is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world and is a flagship species for biodiversity in the Yunnan province, a region of global importance where habitats are threatened by pressure from rapid economic development. The region is home to the country’s largest remaining intact natural forests, which are vital for maintaining the local and regional climatic balance. These areas have already shrunk rapidly due to rampant logging in recent years, and now new demand for further development, particularly for biofuels, threaten to cause ecological collapse in the region.

Born to a rural Chinese family, Angela is a young local woman who is successfully raising awareness amongst local people of conservation protection laws, whilst also developing alternative income options that do not harm the environment. Over the last two years, Angela’s team has implemented a community-based conservation education campaign in China’s Laojunshan region. By elevating the endangered and widely recognized golden monkey as a symbol to inspire environmental pride in the local population, they have equipped the community with the tools and motivation needed to protect their natural resources.

The aim of this project is to continue the campaign through 2006 and beyond, using support from the Associate Award to expand the pilot project and incorporate remote local communities living near Laojunshan Nature Reserve, a proposed protected area and a key site in the Three Parallel River Region, named a World Natural Heritage site in July 2003. The extent of the reserve covers four different administrative counties – Yulong, Jiangchuan, Weixi, and Lanping – each with different land management laws, creating many challenges for effective management of the reserve.

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