1. FFI Australia
  2. FFI US
  3. Conservation Circle
Baby cao vit gibbon clinging to its mother - Credit Zhao Chao FFI

Encouraging news from China’s cao vit gibbon conservation project

Posted on: 02.03.12 (Last edited) 2 March 2012

Three new infants are born in Bangliang Nature Reserve, Guangxi Province.

In the dense karst forest of Bangliang Nature Reserve, a tiny and vulnerable cao vit gibbon is born.

Covered with soft, black fur to protect it from the freezing wind, it clings tightly to its mother’s belly, where it will stay until it is old enough to move around the forest by itself.

This is the third infant to be born in the nature reserve this season, to two of China’s three remaining cao vit gibbon groups.

With only around 110 individuals left in the wild, and classified by the IUCN as Critically Endangered, the cao vit gibbon is one of the world’s rarest apes (second only to its closest relative, the Hainan gibbon).

Restricted to the remote mountainous forests on the border between China and Vietnam, very little is known about this species. For this reason, its conservation requires a special level of commitment on the part of the scientists who have been monitoring these animals in difficult conditions since 2007.

It is therefore easy to imagine the sense of elation they felt when word spread about the birth of several new infants this year.

A baby cao vit gibbon learns to search for food (photo credit Zhao Chao / FFI)

The recovery and growth of cao vit gibbon populations is proving a slow process due to its extremely low numbers.

What’s more its reproductive rate is low (with each female giving birth to only one infant every three years), and infant mortality is fairly high. In China for example, only seven infants have been born since 2007 – two of which died during a cold snap.

Fortunately, with support from all sides (including the Jingxi County government, the Forestry Department and local communities), the 6,500 hectare Bangliang Nature Reserve was established in 2009.

At a single stroke, this quadrupled the amount of protected forest for the cao vit gibbon, in which they can thrive without human disturbance.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and its partners were instrumental in the creation of this nature reserve, which is directly adjacent to Vietnam’s Cao Vit Gibbon Conservation Area, which FFI helped to establish in 2007.

Today, FFI’s cao vit conservation work includes training and education for reserve staff, communities and local government, as well as scientific research and monitoring.

The arrival of three new infants indicates that this work may be paying off, with similar reports from across the border in Vietnam.

Written by
Zhang Wen

Other posts by Zhang Wen

With only around 110 individuals left in the wild, the cao vit gibbon is one of the world’s rarest apes.

Make a donation

Related areas

Support Fauna & Flora International



Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 1011102
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International Inc. is a Not for Profit Organisation in the State of Massachusetts. It is tax exempt (EIN #04-2730954) and has 501(c) (3) status
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act