Scientists find a way to pair white-cheeked black gibbons

For the past 10 years, scientists at the Me Linh Biodiversity Station (Vinh Phuc) have been looking for female white-cheeked gibbons to pair with two existing males to breed and preserve gene sources.

White-cheeked black gibbon scientific name Nomascus leucogenys, is a native species of Vietnam, Laos and Yunnan province (China), belonging to the most endangered primate group in the world. The white-cheeked black gibbon is classified as critically endangered on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red Book). More than 10 years ago, Me Linh Biodiversity Station, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, received two male white-cheeked black gibbons. To propagate this species, female individuals are needed. However, up to now this unit has not been able to find a female to breed, preserve the gene source and preserve this animal.

Mr. Dang Nguyen Phuong, Head of Me Linh Biodiversity Station, said that currently some northern wildlife conservation centers are also keeping the genes of this extremely rare gibbon species. But in those places, gibbons also have pairs, or there are only males, so the exchange of genetic resources cannot be done. He hopes to find 1 – 2 females, to pair with two male gibbons, creating F1. When there are many F1 gibbons, they will find a way to release F1 gibbons into the wild.

According to estimates, the two male gibbons are about 14 – 15 years old. In the wild, this gibbon’s age is recorded to be up to 28 years. In captivity, the lifespan can be longer. According to Mr. Phuong, between conservation centers and stations, regulations are being developed to coordinate the conservation of rare wildlife genes. When an additional female white-cheeked gibbon appears in one place, the station can exchange. The leader of the Me Linh Biodiversity Station called on the public, if anyone keeps white-cheeked black gibbons, they can exchange them or donate them to scientists to serve research and maintain the gene source of this species.

The sex of adult white-cheeked gibbons is distinguished by fur color. When they are young, they are no different, but when they grow up, the male’s feathers are black and the female’s are yellow. In Vietnam, reports recorded that in 2011 there were 41 herds and 127 individuals. In 2020, at least 22 herds were confirmed in Pu Mat National Park, Nghe An (near the border with Laos); Besides, there is another population of 64 herds and 182 individuals in Xuan Lien Nature Reserve, Thanh Hoa.

According to Mr. Luong Xuan Hong, Director of the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Center, based on the number of white-cheeked gibbons in Vietnam, “it is still possible to find partners to pair the gibbons for reproduction.” white-cheeked male at Me Linh Biodiversity Station”. However, according to him, many technical and material conditions are required for reproductive pairing. Specifically, the barn needs to be suitable for breeding pairs and comply with the technical steps. Raising and breeding white-cheeked gibbons requires in-depth assessment of the history, physiology, health of each individual, especially the personality of each individual to ensure they are truly suitable.

He said that before deciding to breed, managers must have a specific plan for releasing individuals into the wild, including an assessment of suitable release areas, safe enough, and with food sources. , there is no resource conflict between species, release the young alone at the appropriate age or release the whole group… According to Mr. Hong, each step needs to be assessed for feasibility, surveyed, planned and followed. seriously so that gibbon reproduction achieves high results.

Two male white-cheeked gibbons at Me Linh Biodiversity Station. Video: MT

Director of the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Center said that breeding white-cheeked gibbons is advantageous or difficult depending on the purpose of breeding. If a gibbon is born in captivity and will remain in captivity for its entire life, it is not breeding to preserve the species. This means that there needs to be enough cage facilities to raise baby gibbons from the time they are born until the age of separation from their mothers. Then add a barn for them when they are adults. This requires farms with a lot of space, money and technology to raise individuals without contributing to conservation goals.

To preserve white-cheeked gibbons, according to Mr. Hong, it can be done by breeding and then releasing the offspring at the age of separation from the mother into areas where other species live. However, this method has the risk of territorial disputes between individuals. He cited a recent study showing that releasing gibbons bred in captivity into the wild has the potential to reduce the gibbon population in the long term. The reason is that the negative behavioral effects of gibbons born in captivity on individuals available in the wild can be imprinted in the genes of individuals over many generations.

He said that reintroducing gibbons born in captivity requires a clear plan and serious implementation of technical steps in each stage, ensuring success and not harming existing individuals in the wild. . Because species that eat plants and fruits that distribute seeds, such as gibbons, have a great influence on the ecological health of the forest.

In Vietnam, the Dao Tien Primate Center in Cat Tien National Park is currently the place where baby gibbons are released into the wild.

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