The Aspinall Foundation

Siamang project update - January 2023

Posted by The Aspinall Foundation on 16-Jan-2023 16:57:12

As 2022 ended and the new year began our dedicated Siamang Rehabilitation Centre in south Sumatra received the first four rescued siamang gibbons. Although the Centre is not yet fully open, this is an important step in this exciting new project.

First siamang in quarantine (2) One of the first rescued siamang to be cared for at our Siamang Rehabilitation Centre  © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia

When a gibbon arrives, rehabilitation always begins with an initial health assessment and a period in quarantine. Our quarantine cages have been designed and built to provide adequate space for each animal. Constructed with two areas, divided by a connecting tunnel, the cages are easy to maintain and keep clean.   

Quarantine Cage Quarantine Cage   © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
Once the quarantine period ends, and following a successful veterinary assessment, the gibbons will be transferred to the larger socialisation enclosures where their main rehabilitation for a possible return to the wild will begin. Primates that have been rescued from the illegal trade in wildlife often have behavioural and physical issues to be resolved, and sadly some animals will not be eligible for release and will remain under the care of our team.

Socialisation Enclosures Socialisation cages are much larger than quarantine cages and the connecting tunnel between two sections means animals can be retained in one half. This not only provides the keepers with access for cleaning and maintenance but, during the early stages of socialisation, it allows the gibbons to be introduced gradually, and separated if necessary. © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia

It is great news that the first siamang are now at the Centre but the work continues to complete the build. An extended and unusually heavy rainy season has hampered progress since November 2022, not least because the metal enclosures require welders using electric power tools. However, the existence of buildings already on the site has meant the renovation required to create an office and veterinary clinic is near completion, and a separate building is now a functioning food preparation area for the keepers to prepare meals for the siamang.

Existing buildings at the site On the Left: Food Preparation Building. On the Right: Main Office & Veterinary Clinic  © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia

Subject to the constraints imposed by the weather we hope to complete the remaining enclosures/cages over the next few weeks. The facility will then be completed with the construction of the dedicated information centre which is expected to be ready for use from the end of February 2023.

After several years of planning our team in Indonesia has now achieved the initial goal of bringing the first rescued siamang to the project. The focus now is to complete the build and fill the remaining enclosures. More keepers will be employed and trained, and later this year the surveys will begin of potential release sites. 

First siamang in quarantine Siamang at the Centre in south Sumatra   © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia

The Aspinall Foundation is working on this project 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

We would like to thank the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, the Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia, and DierenPark Amersfoort Wildlife Fund for providing funding support towards some of the costs involved with this project. Without their help, this project would not have been possible.

Topics: Sumatra, Siamang gibbon

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