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Save the Yunnan golden monkey through community outreach

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
08 February 2011
Publisher Name: 
National Geographic Action Atlas
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Project Summary

The Laojunshan Nature Reserve (LNR), located in the northwest of China’s Yunnan Province, is in the Three Parallel Rivers Region, which was named a World Heritage site in July 2003. Comprising four counties (Yulong, Jiangchuan, Weixi, and Lanping), each with different land management laws, the LNR faces myriad and complicated management issues. From June 2003 to March 2005, Rare partnered with The Nature Conservancy to support campaign manager Angela Cun to run a Pride campaign in the LNR.


Illegal hunting and habitat loss are the biggest threats to the biodiversity of the LNR. Commercial logging and hunting were banned in 1999, but weak law enforcement has done little to stem the conservation threats within the LNR. Because the World Heritage designation by the UN is relatively recent, conservation is a new concept in surrounding communities. Over the last few decades, the human population has greatly increased, resulting in rising resource demand in the area.

Our flagship species is the Yunnan golden monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti). The Yunnan golden monkey is endemic to the Trans-Himalayas in northwest Yunnan and southeast Tibet between the upper Yangtze and Mekong rivers. Living at altitudes higher than any other nonhuman primate, the Yunnan golden monkey is one of the most endangered species in China. Local people hunt the golden monkey for food, leather, and furs. They also hunt them for the illegal exotic pet trade. Habitat destruction and fragmentation and poaching are three severe threats to the Yunnan golden monkey.


Angela Cun’s main campaign objective was to promote the value of the LNR’s biodiversity and take action to protect it by way of community-based conservation education. Cun employed a variety of social marketing vehicles including posters, badges, puppets, costumes, school songs and visits, and outreach to key segments of the community -- education authorities, loggers, and small businesses.

Progress To-Date

Cun’s campaign resulted in a series of successes across a variety of target audiences. Farmers showed increased awareness and knowledge about the following conservation programs and issues: the nature reserve (up 20 percent, to 61 percent), ecotourism (up 17 percent, to 49 percent) and alternative energy (up 10 percent, to 46 percent). Thirty-six percent of farmers were more aware of the fine for hunting the Yunnan golden monkey, an increase of nearly 20 percent.

When respondents were asked to name an animal they considered a priority for protection, 86 percent, up from 57 percent, named the Yunnan golden monkey. Lastly, 82 percent and 78 percent of respondents named hunting and habitat destruction, respectively, as major threats to the golden monkey after the campaign, an increase of nearly 10 percent in both cases.

Cun is now working for The Nature Conservancy’s China program and has become a leading voice for community-based conservation in the region. She is also helping Rare launch a university-based Pride training program in China (adding to centers in Mexico, Indonesia, and the UK) to meet the growing demand for local environmental leadership and capacity in her country.


Links to More Information

Laojunshan Campaign Page
Inspiring Conservation in the Yunnan Province of China

Project Partners

The Nature Conservancy
Welcome to The Nature Conservancy — the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Project Contacts

Rare HQ
840 Wilson Blvd., Suite 204
Arlington, VA, US, 22201
703-522-5070 • fax 703-522-5070


Extpub | by Dr. Radut