Southwest China’s Yunnan Province has made breakthroughs in the protection of species with extremely small populations, carrying out over 120 conservation programs to rescue 112 such species.
Thanks to consistent conservation efforts, the populations of multiple rare and endangered wild animals have seen stable recovery, including the Asian elephant, black snub-nosed monkey, western black crested gibbon, and black-necked crane.
In addition, over 100,000 plants of 20 wild plant species with extremely small populations have been artificially cultivated, and more than 3,000 of them have been reintroduced to the wild.
One such example is Acer yangbiense, a critically endangered maple tree unique to Yangbi Yi Autonomous County in Yunnan. When the species was first discovered, only four individuals were found. After more than 10 years of conservation efforts, tens of thousands of individuals of the species have been cultivated.
Since 2016, Yunnan has established 30 protection areas, 13 gardens for the ex-situ conservation and protection of plants in their original habitats, and five research labs. The province has achieved breakthroughs in artificial cultivation technologies related to 36 plant species, and completed the ex-situ conservation of 61 plant species through artificial cultivation. It has planted over 30,000 artificially cultivated plants from 16 species with extremely small populations in the wild.
Typical cases involving the rescue and protection of species with extremely small populations in Yunnan will be showcased at a side event of the second part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which is scheduled for Dec. 7 and 19 in Montreal, Canada. The side event will share with the world Yunnan’s concepts and strategies for protecting species with extremely small populations and China’s experience in protecting biodiversity.
Yunnan has placed great importance on the rescue and protection of species with extremely small populations, a concept first put forward by the province in 2005. Five years later, Yunnan issued a guideline and an emergency action plan targeting these species.
Yunnan launched its second 10-year plan to protect more wildlife species with extremely small populations in 2021, explained Yang Hua, deputy director of the wildlife conservation division of the Yunnan Forestry and Grassland Administration.