We are delighted to announce our Siamang Rehabilitation Centre in South Sumatra is operational. A formal opening ceremony will take place in a few weeks but there are already five rescued siamang in residence, with two more awaiting transfer from West Java.
Two of the quarantine cages occupied by siamang © Tony King, The Aspinall Foundation
Half the quarantine cages, each designed with two sections and a connecting tunnel, are now occupied by the five siamang, all rescued in Sumatra from the illegal pet trade. After a few months the three males and two females will move to socialisation enclosures where they can begin the process of rehabilitation.
Construction at the site was delayed for a short time, not least because of an extended heavy rainy season, but the build is now complete except for two socialisation enclosures that will be constructed in the summer.
The newly appointed keepers are introduced to our Director of Overseas Projects on a recent visit from the UK Head of Operations to the Centre © Tony King, The Aspinall Foundation.
The work of the Centre will be overseen by our Country Director, who will assume this additional responsibility in addition to his work in Java. Currently there are four full-time keepers, all local people, that have been trained both at the site and by a period of practical training at our Javan Primate Rehabilitation Centre. During April they will be joined by a vet, and a fifth keeper will be recruited in a couple of months.
The first information boards have been erected in a specially designed education centre which provides information on the work of the project and the conservation status of siamang gibbons. It will be used for education and awareness sessions for school children and local people. A full programme of educational activities will be developed over the next few weeks and university students from across Indonesia will also be able to visit and carry out studies, as they already do at our centres in Java.
A pair of rescued siamang gibbons at our centre in West Java. In a few weeks they will join the five already in Sumatra © The Aspinall Foundation, Indonesia.
With the new Centre operational this exciting multi-year project to support the conservation of siamang gibbons can now begin to fulfil its role. Rescued siamang will have a safe environment in which to socialise and regain normal behaviour and, later this year, the TAF Indonesia team will start the process of identifying suitable protected release sites. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate and, where possible, release siamang back to the wild where they can reinforce the existing, but reducing, wild populations. Together with activities to increase awareness and education of the vulnerability of this often-under-represented species we hope to make a difference to their plight.
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 be possible.