Rare pileated gibbons have been released in Cambodia’s Angkor Wat jungle since 2013 – and as offspring are born, the endangered monkey has higher hopes to survive and thrive.
The jungle, a world heritage site since 1992 that benefits from increased legal and physical protections, welcomes an increasing number of species – thus boosting biodiversity – thanks to a conservation program between the Wildlife Alliance, the forestry administration, and a government agency called the Apsara Authority that manages 12th-century ruins.
“We have now released four different pairs of gibbons within the Angkor forest and they have gone on to breed and now seven babies have been born,” explains Mick Marx, Wildlife Alliance rescue and care program director. “What we are hoping for the future is to create a sustainable population of the animals… that we released here within the amazing Angkor forest.”
The first pair of gibbons, Baray and Saranick, was released in 2013 as part of the program and produced offspring the following year. Gibbons reach sexual maturity in 5 to 8 years, after which they can pair up and continue to reproduce. According to Marx, Wildlife Alliance rescues around 2,000 animals a year and so far, some 40 other species – including silvered langurs, muntjac deers, smooth-coated otters, leopard cats, civets, wreathed hornbills, green peafowl – have been released in the 6,500-hectare jungle.