Endangered Gibbons get a helping hand in the New Year

After successfully relocating three Bornean gibbons last year, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) partners again with International Animal Rescue (IAR) and Kalaweit Foundation to move 5 Sumatran Agile gibbons and 8 siamangs from Cikananga Animal Rescue Centre (PPSC) to Marak island off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Prior to the relocation, this group of gibbons and siamangs were confiscated from illegal pet trade by the Indonesian Forestry Department . The animals were successfully relocated to their native home range in Sumatra and will undergo rehabilitation before their return to the wild. Gibbons are small agile apes that live in subtropical rainforests in Southeast, South and East Asia. While the illegal pet trade takes a heavy toll on wild populations, the principal threat to gibbons is loss of habitat. Known for their long hands and fingers and ability to swing from tree to tree, gibbons suffer from the consequences of deforestation as palm oil production is leading to clearing of natural forests and consequently reducing their prime habitat. “Illegal pet trade and rampant deforestation is driving the Sumatran gibbons and siamangs to extinction. Together with the Forestry Department of Indonesia and other NGO’s, we hope to provide a brighter future for these endangered primates by their 'return home' to native Sumatra” said Dr. Anand Ramanathan of IFAW. This group of 13 rescued Sumatran agile gibbons and siamangs will now join more than 100 other rescued gibbons in Kalaweit Foundation’s 1000-hectare rehabilitation island. “The animals will be kept in captivity for a year, fed natural foods, given ample opportunity for social interactions, and will live in a natural habitat”, said Kalaweit Director, Dr. Chanee. “Our team in Indonesia is already working to rescue slow lorises from the pet markets of Indonesia. However, to be able to help other endangered primates by partnering with IFAW and the Kalaweit Foundation is a great start to the New Year and vital if we are to save highly threatened species like these gibbons and siamangs from extinction" said Alan Knight, CEO of IAR.

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