Photo Credit: Eric Kilby

Conservation of Endangered and Critically Endangered Gibbons of Southeast Asia


Conservation Problem

The critically endangered northern White-cheeked Gibbon, and the endangered Siamang, Agile Gibbon, and Lar Gibbon are highly threatened by hunting, often for the pet trade.

Hunters can easily find the Gibbons in dense forests because their morning songs carry for long distances. The loss of even a single adult Gibbon can disrupt the breeding potential of an entire social unit, sometimes for years. If left unchecked, hunting pressure could render local populations extinct.

The ongoing loss of habitat now limits the range of these species. Key Gibbon strongholds include: the mountainous rainforest of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southwest Sumatra, Indonesia, one of the largest protected areas with large populations of Agile Gibbons and Siamang; the rugged primary rainforest of Endau-Rompin National Park in Malaysia, which holds the southernmost population of Lar Gibbons; and the mountainous terrain of Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in northern Lao PDR, home to one of the largest known populations of northern White-cheeked Gibbons.

Project Activities

The project team will assist local law enforcement agencies in and around Bukit Barisan Selatan, Endau-Rompin and Nam Et-Phou Louey with training, equipment, rations and supplies.

The aim of this support is to increase the number of Gibbon poachers and traders captured and arrested.  The team will also assist prosecutors and judges with training and legal support to increase the rate of successful prosecutions. Arresting and successfully prosecuting poachers and traders achieves two aims - once arrested known poachers and traders are prevented from continuing their illegal actions, and a high rate of successful prosecutions acts as a deterrent to other persons who might start poaching or trading Gibbons.

Project Outcomes

The project objectives are to firstly improve the quantity - and quality - of law enforcement effort against illegal Gibbon poachers and traders. Secondly to increase the number of arrests of illegal poachers and traders in Nam Et-Phou Louey, Endau-Rompin and Bukit Barisan Selatan; and finally to increase the number of prosecutions of arrested poachers and traders.

Overall, it is hoped that this improved law enforcement effort will significantly mitigate the threat of hunting to Gibbons species in all three landscapes.

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