Protecting endangered species and ecosystems in China

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The Earth’s biosphere, teeming with diverse and vibrant forms of life, including animals of varied shapes, colorful plants, and ubiquitous microorganisms, is the result of billions of years of evolution. It serves as the fundamental foundation for human survival and well-being.

May 22 marked the 23rd International Day for Biological Diversity and the first bio-diversity day since the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework during COP15.

Over the years, the SEE Foundation has been actively engaged in community-based biodiversity conservation actions by supporting population surveys, assessments, and monitoring of relevant species.

The organization has also facilitated the establishment of nature reserves, specialized scientific research, and public nature education programs. The foundation explores collaborative efforts between businesses, government departments, research institutions, communities, and nonprofit organizations to integrate resources and protect natural habitats and species, contributing to the preservation of biodiversity.

Despite extensive scientific research, surveys, and monitoring of endangered species in China, there has been limited consolidation of information and the creation of accessible materials for the general public.

As a result, the foundation has partnered with research institutions, experts, government departments, and conservation organizations to compile Survival Reports for species such as the Asian elephant, Ili pika, David’s rock squirrel, Distinctive Leaftail Burrower, Przewalski’s gazelle, and Père David’s salamander.

These reports comprehensively assess and evaluate the survival status of these species, enabling the public to gain a deeper understanding of their current situation and raise awareness of the conservation of rare and endangered species in China.

For instance, the Père David’s salamander, which inhabits remote and sparsely populated areas in the high-altitude regions of the Daliang Mountains, faces the challenge of fragmented habitats. With an estimated potential population of only 200 distributed across five fragmented areas, the restoration of their habitats and environmental conditions is crucial. However, this process often takes a considerable amount of time.

To protect the Père David’s salamander and implement effective conservation measures, it is essential to understand the specific population numbers and habitats. This requires habitat protection, the establishment of standardized conservation measures, enhanced research efforts, and potentially methods such as captive breeding and reintroduction to help restore population numbers.

Another example is the Przewalski’s gazelle, also known as the Tibetan gazelle. Once widely distributed in regions of Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Ningxia, and Qinghai, the species has experienced a significant decline due to overhunting and habitat loss caused by grassland development. Currently, only a small population remains in Qinghai Province, numbering approximately 2,900 as of 2020-2021.

Transforming biodiversity conservation goals into concrete actions requires the collective efforts of each and every one of us.