Why China is important in advancing the field of primatology|
Garber, Paul A.
Over the past few decades, field studies conducted by Chinese primatologists have contributed significant new theoretical and empirical insights into the behavior, ecology, biology, genetics, and conservation of lorises, macaques, langurs, snub-nosed monkeys, and gibbons. With the recent establishment and inaugural meeting of the China Primatological Society in 2017, China has emerged as a leading nation in primate research. Several research teams have conducted long-term studies despite the difficult challenges of habituating and observing wild primates inhabiting mountainous temperate forests, and the fact that some 80% of China’s 25–27 primate species are considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered and are distributed in small isolated subpopulations. In going forward, it is recommended that primatologists in China increase their focus on seasonal differences in the social, ecological, physiological, and nutritional challenges primates face in exploiting high altitude and cold temperate forests. In addition, provisioning as a habitation tool should be minimized or eliminated, as it is difficult to control for its effects on group dynamics, patterns of habitat utilization, and feeding ecology. Finally in the next decade, Chinese primatologists should consider expanding the taxonomic diversity of species studied by conducting research in other parts of Asia, Africa, and the Neotropics.
China; Conservation; Primate research; Ecology