Endangered Gibbons Get a Helping Hand in the New Year

Jan 11, 2008, 00:00 ET from International Fund for Animal Welfare

    JAKARTA, Indonesia, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After
 successfully relocating three Bornean gibbons last year, the International
 Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) 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 NGOs, 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

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare