This is a new and groundbreaking project in peninsular Malaysia. It is the first time that a dedicated service is available for endangered wild gibbon rescue and rehabilitation in Malaysia. This involves rewilding and releasing into the forest based on IUCN guidelines. So this organisation, the Gibbon Protection Society Malaysia or GPSM, deserves your full support.
Gibbons are also known as smaller apes. That is to say, they are the nearest relatives to humans that are monogamous. Gibbons can live for about 40 years. Although they are smaller, gibbons display many of the typical primate traits, such as a larger brain size, a flat face, grasping hands and feet and the absence of a tail. Moreover, their most distinctive characteristic is their loud and unique singing. Males and females often sing vocal duets, which creates a beautiful symphony of intricate song in a healthy tropical forest.
Gibbons are amazing singing primates
Gibbons are tree-dwellers and their arm-swinging movement is called brachiation, allowing them to swing from branch to branch. So, they can do this for up to 15 m and at the fastest speed of any tree-dwelling animal (apart from birds). Sadly, this amazing skill makes them especially vulnerable to deforestation, as they need a full forest canopy to move around and find food. Another major threat from humans is poaching and illegal trafficking. This has been on the rise due to wildlife traffickers now using the internet to sell young animals ( whose mothers have often been killed) to ignorant pet owners.
Wild Gibbon rescue and rehabilitation
The core of this project is the establishment of Malaysia’s first official IUCN-compliant Primate Rehabilitation Centre. It is located near the town of Raub in Pahang state. The centre will be named ‘Malaysian Primate Conservation Centre’ once it has been approved. This will be the temporary home for Orphaned captive gibbons and other primates that were confiscated from wildlife traffickers. These animals will be rehabilitated using the established international protocols. The centre aims to provide world class health care, nutrition, rehabilitation and pre-release training to as many primates as it can accommodate. After intensive re-wilding training, the animals can be returned back into the wild. So it can become a safe self-sustainable population. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent extinction of these critically endangered primates.
In addition, GPSM also carries out other conservation activities, apart from wild gibbon rescue and rehabilitation. It supports vital conservation research on primates and their habitat and promotes environmental education and awareness about the importance of primates within the Malaysian ecosystem. Most importantly, it aims to combat the growing illegal wildlife trade and assist the local enforcement agencies.
How you can help
There are currently several Critically Endangered Gibbons and Langurs in GPSM’s care. They urgently need long term housing, rehabilitation and daily care. It takes a lot to keep these animals with ample supply of suitable food. This includes fruit and vitamins, and babymilk for the little ones. We also need manpower to create enrichment and upgrade the housing. Please help by donating or contact us, if you are interested in volunteering for the wild gibbon rescue and rehabilitation.