Second of the WildChina Explorer Grant Finalists we have the team William Bleisch and Yan Lu. Together, their experiences range from the Program Director of China Exploration & Research Society and World Wildlife Federation China to Fauna & Flora International China Programme Office and Harvard University. Here is a summary of their proposal to scout a route along the backbone of the Ailao Shan in Yunnan, through the nature reserves and up on to Dali where the route would connect with existing trekking routes…
We propose to scout a route along the backbone of the Ailao Mountains through the Ailaoshan Nature Reserve. We are excited about our expedition because it could be the start of a trekking trail along the Ailao Shan ridge and beyond, continuing north to Dali where it would connect with existing trekking routes, creating a long “through-trail”.
Opening this area to trekkers would increase appreciation and build support for protection of nature in this wonderful region. Ailao Shan is one of China’s most important natural areas, because it protects rare southern sub-tropical forests and hosts the world’s largest single population of the globally endangered Black-crested gibbon, the rare singing apes of southern China.
Their songs were the subjects of some of China’s most famous poems, but are now almost unknown in China. Trekkers who camp next to the gibbons’ territories will be welcomed each morning by the beautiful musical duets sung by gibbon families from the tree-tops.
Photo by Long Yongcheng via Bill Bleisch