The birth of Axel, the first-ever gibbon born at a
rehabilitation centre in Malaysia, has brought us to such an incredible and
exciting juncture for gibbon conservation! Rehabilitation for gibbons is a long
process and can take anywhere between 5-15 years long. For the first time,
after 10 years of operations, GCS finally has a gibbon family so close to being
released and we need your help to get them one step closer. For the next 6
months, Ebony, Coley and Axel will be closely monitored to ensure that they can
survive and function like a proper gibbon family in the wild. During this time,
we need your generous support for their pre-release costs, which include health
checks, food, release site surveys, equipment, and more.
1. Release Site Survey - RM 60400.00
In the next 6 months we need to find the right place to release them. We have narrowed it down to 2-3 locations but detailed site survey needs to be done. We need to ensure there is enough food source, no hunting/poaching activity, no other lar or agile gibbon families in the area, amongst other things. To achieve this we need to hire at least 4 local Indigenous people for 2 months and provide them with basic equipment and necessities to stay in the jungle. This cost includes their salaries, insurance, camping equipment, food, etc.
They will also need highly reliable equipment like satellite phones, GPS and binoculars (this equipment will also be used in the future when the family is released and need to be monitored in the wild).
Logistics and salaries will amount to an estimated RM 34500.00, while purchase of equipments will be an estimated RM 25900.00.
2. Husbandry, care and monitoring of the family for 6 months - RM 25000.00
The family, currently residing at our rehabilitation centre
– Malaya GReP, are being closely observed to ensure they can survive and
function as a wild gibbon family. During that time we need to cover costs for
their food, supplements, enrichments, enclosure maintenance and salaries for
the staff taking care of them.
3. Community Outreach - RM 10000.00
As part of our effort to ensure the security of the release site for our gibbons, we need to conduct outreach programs with the local community living closest to the site. Though not so common, gibbons are still hunted and with added incentive from traders, local people turn to poaching for income. We will conduct programs that will encourage the community to love and protect our released gibbons instead of hunting them.
As part of our overall effort for our projects, we are also working on providing locals with alternative and sustainable income sources.
4. Veterinary Health Check & DNA Testing - RM 3500.00
Before the family can be released, we need to ensure that they are in good health and are screened for any contagious diseases. This is to ensure that they do not transmit anything to wild gibbons.
When Coley first came to us in 2020, he struggled to swing as gibbons do, with weak hands and feet, leading to frequent falls during climbing and swinging. He also displayed abnormal behaviours such as fur plugging. Pet gibbons often suffer from stunted growth, feeble muscles, and the development of repetitive behaviors due to malnourishment and confinement in cramped enclosures. It’s crucial to stress that young gibbons need space and freedom to move for their healthy development. Once given the opportunity to roam freely at Malaya GReP, Coley’s muscles rapidly regained strength, enabling him to gracefully brachiate all over his enclosure. He also faced challenges in learning how to sing, but it seems that Ebony found his struggles endearing, and he managed to win her heart, regardless.
Ebony’s has also had a troubled past. Being confined to a tiny basket as a pet caused her to develop severe stereotypical behaviours that she has to this day. However, Ebony’s outlook took a positive turn in 2022 when she found a loving companion in Coley, and they became a mating pair. Now, with the birth of their baby Axel, a new chapter unfolds in their journey – and it couldn’t have happened at a more fitting time, coinciding with GCS’s tenth anniversary.
Our final goal for this family is to see them free in the wild. With Ebony and Coley both successfully completing the IUCN 7 release criteria for gibbons, the long journey is almost complete. After these 6 months, we will hopefully be able to begin the release of the family. This release is what we call a “soft release”, where the family is monitored and gradually becomes independent at its own pace. Their ultimate success will be when they are happy and feel safe enough to have a second child in the wild.
Together, us, the gibbons, and your generous donations, we can get closer to the dream that Axel might be the first Malaysian gibbon born in a rehabilitation centre that has the opportunity to simply live as gibbons deserve, being themselves in the wild.
May Axel’s song become a beautiful testament to the power of conservation and efforts against the brutal illegal pet trade.
You can read more about this campaign here: http://www.gibbonconservationsociety.org/helpthisgibbonfamilygohome