Acoustic Monitoring for Improving the Conservation of Critically Endangered Hainan Gibbon

Published: 05 July 2022
Last edited: 11 October 2023
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The Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) is one of the most endangered primates in the world, living in the Bawangling area of Hainan Province, China. Comprehensive tracking and monitoring is required for better conservation, but because of the difficulty in vivo tracking, acoustic equipment is needed for monitoring.


“Tech4Nature” is a global project jointly launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Huawei, aiming to develop more scientific protection measures, combined with the ICT industry, digital technology and IUCN Green List standards, provides technical support for the acoustic monitoring project of Hainan gibbons. To date, full coverage of 5 family groups monitoring has been achieved, automatic identification and real-time back transmission of Hainan gibbon acoustic monitoring have been realized.


East Asia
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Local actors
Species management
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Genetic Conservation
Species Status Assessment
Species Monitoring and Research
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Infrastructure development
Lack of technical capacity
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Sustainable development goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Indirect through consumers
Indirect through government
Indirect through legal actors


Hainan, People's Republic of China


  • Hainan Gibbon monitoring
  • biodiversity loss
  • Relationship between human and nature


  • Hainan gibbons
  • Local communities
  • Protected areas communities
  • Academia
  • Visitors

How do the building blocks interact?

The three building blocks are carried out in chronological order. Field Research (BB1) is the basis for Sound Recording Equipment layout and installation (BB2) and so as BB2 for Data Quantification and Database Establishment (BB3), Sound Pattern Analysis (BB4), and Recognition Modelling(BB5). The above outputs has been exchanged and conmmunicated during International Symposium (BB6) for furthur impacts. The three blocks share a common goal of acoustic monitoring and individual recognition of Hainan Gibbons. They are designed to allow for step-by-step data collection, storage and analysis to achieve the above-mentioned objectives.


  • Enhance monitoring efficiency: The equipment installed in this project can be activated by the sound of Hainan gibbons, then records the data and transmits back in real time, and can also realize automatic sound recognition, which effectively improves the efficiency of monitoring, and achieves a new stage in Hainan gibbon acoustic monitoring. 
  • Assist in biodiversity conservation: The establishment of the cloud database will provide a scientific basis for the discovery of potential solitary or groups of Hainan gibbon, contributing to the biodiversity conservation in Hainan. 
  • Contribute to the study of human: Hainan gibbons have a complex acoustic communication system similar to humans, and a stable monogamous or bi-marital mate system. The study of their behaviors starting from their acoustic can help us better understand the origins of human society, family, language, communication, and the evolution of other behaviors.
  • Increase the conservation awareness:  The exchange experience of applying technologies in Hainan gibbon conservation, based on the indication and reference value of scientific means such as sound recognition and precise monitoring in the stable long-term development of Hainan gibbons.



In the past, when monitoring Hainan gibbons, our team members used to chase after them in the mountains, carrying cameras, GPS devices, and other equipment. But now, we employ technology for smart monitoring of Hainan gibbons. For example, we install infrared cameras, accoustic monitoring and real-time monitoring equipment within the habitat of the Hainan gibbons. This way, we no longer have to worry about physical endurance and weather conditions. The combination of human presence and technology effectively addresses issues such as working in adverse weather conditions and monitoring during nighttime when humans need rest. When typhoon hit Hainan, causing landslides that obstructed many of the Hainan gibbons' activity routes among the mountains. To better monitor their activity routes, we set up a rope corridor in the valleys affected by landslides. Near this rope corridor, we monitored and observed the Hainan gibbons. We wondered if they would utilize the rope corridor we had constructed. After approximately two months, we were delighted to see the first images captured by the infrared cameras showing gibbons using the rope corridor to access the opposite habitat. This made us feel that our efforts were truly worthwhile. Hainan gibbons are highly intelligent creatures. 

Contributed by

yun.xiao_41725's picture

Yun Xiao International Union for Conservation of Nature

Other contributors

International Union for Conservation of Nature
Jichao Wang
Hainan Institute of National Park
Yanfei Tang
Hainan Institute of National Park
Yaping Wu