Greetings From a Chinese EcoPark

Greetings From a Chinese EcoPark


Courtesy of Peking University Chongzuo Biodiversity Research Institute

I wrote a story last fall on Pan Wenshi—China's founding father of conservation biology—and the white headed langur, an endangered monkey he’s spent the past decade trying to save.
At the time, Pan told me I really should come back in late winter when the year’s newborns still have their bright yellow fur, so when the chance came for me to make a return visit, I jumped!

Phil McKenna
Published: 03/13/2009

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Courtesy of Peking University Chongzuo Biodiversity Research Institute

I wrote a story last fall on Pan Wenshi—China's founding father of conservation biology—and the white headed langur, an endangered monkey he’s spent the past decade trying to save.
At the time, Pan told me I really should come back in late winter when the year’s newborns still have their bright yellow fur, so when the chance came for me to make a return visit, I jumped!

I’m now mid-way through a two-week stay at the Chongzuo EcoPark, a 24-square km nature reserve a stone’s throw from the Vietnam border in southern China.


Courtesy of Peking University Chongzuo Biodiversity Research Institute

The very phrase Chinese-nature-reserve may sound like a contradiction of terms, but this tiny island of biodiversity—in a country that is admittedly otherwise choking on its own pollution—is absolutely breathtaking.

When Pan arrived here 13 years ago, locals were well on their way to poaching the last remaining langurs, felling what was left of their forest habitat for firewood, and blasting their mountain home into limestone quarries.


Courtesy of Peking University Chongzuo Biodiversity Research Institute

Over the past decade, however, he’s had phenomenal success working with surrounding villages to help bring them out of poverty and to foster an interest in wildlife protection. The end result has been rapid reforestation within the reserve and a five-fold increase in the langur’s population--including one really cute newborn that we’ve been watching the past few days.