Left: Rescued Siamang gibbon at our centre in Java. Right: Captive-bred Siamang at our parks in the UK
We are delighted to announce the start of our first conservation project on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The Aspinall Foundation, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of South Sumatra and the Directorate General Conservation of Natural Resources and Its Ecosystem, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Republic of Indonesia, is building the first dedicated Siamang Rehabilitation Centre in southern Sumatra at the Punti Kayu TWA forest protection block.
Country Director Made Wedana on a recent site visit to discuss the clearance of the area ready to erect new enclosures. © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
Once the Centre is complete it will accommodate rescued siamang gibbons for rehabilitation and, where appropriate, their release into protected areas to reinforce the declining wild populations. An education and awareness programme will also be developed and, in future years, we may transfer siamang from our parks in Kent to further strengthen wild populations.
Existing buildings at the site will be renovated © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
Aside from the forest the site has existing buildings that will be converted into office space and a veterinary clinic, and our plan is to build a dedicated Information and Education Centre that will contain information about the project and about siamang.
The siamang gibbon (Symphalangus syndactylus) has been classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008. The species population is both highly fragmented and decreasing. One of the main threats to their survival is habitat loss through forest conversion, mining, logging and human encroachment. Another is the illegal trade in wildlife, and they are one of the most heavily traded gibbon species for the illegal pet trade.
Although they are a legally protected species, with protections ranging from local to international laws, their future still remains uncertain. Despite their vulnerability to extinction, there is currently very limited conservation activity in respect of siamang gibbons. This lack of conservation projects means it is difficult for rescued animals to be suitably rehabilitated and, as a result, there is currently little prospect of healthy individuals being returned to the wild. Our new Centre is an important step to providing a solution. Our team in Indonesia will bring their years of experience with our Javan Primate Rehabilitation and Release Programme, both through working directly on the project and through training local people to work at the Centre.
Our dedicated and highly experienced Aspinall Indonesia team have found the perfect site…although it requires a little work to achieve its full potential! © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
After years of planning, we are extremely excited that this multi-year project has begun, and will continue to bring you updates on the programme of activities.
We would like to thank the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund and the Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia for providing funding support towards some of the costs involved with this project.