A scientific team, consisting of members of the Gibbon Conservation Alliance based at Zurich University and the Kunming Institute of Zoology, as well as staff members of the Nangunhe National Nature Reserve, carried out a survey in all Chinese forests reported to support white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) during the last 20 years.

The species was last observed in 1988 in the Nangunhe Nature Reserve in south-western Yunnan province, and their loud, melodious calls were last heard in 1992. After two weeks of field work, the 14 member Swiss-Chinese team realized: As a result of continued forest destruction, fragmentation and deterioration, as well as hunting, this gibbon species is no longer part of the Chinese fauna.

– Extracted from “White-handed gibbons extinct in China”, Innovations Report, 19 May 2008.

This report got me thinking.

Too often on New Mandala I’m sure we fail to account for some of the very important, and compelling, research done outside the social sciences and humanities in the broad area of Asia that we deal with. This is unfortunate. Serious research in all the sciences – but particularly in medicine, ecology, zoology, geology, meteorology, hydrology, agronomy and related areas – is of genuine interest to many New Mandala readers. The recent and wide-ranging discussion of Buddhism in mainland Southeast Asia is an excellent example of the way that open discussion of specialist fields allows everyone to learn something.

So, if there are scientists (of whatever stripe) who work in mainland Southeast Asia who would like to bring some of their research to a wider audience please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are always on the look out for guest contributions and there is no reason why we can’t incorporate scientific perspectives.