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ARA & GOKU are orphans and victims of illegal pet trade. To get them, their parents and siblings were brutally killed in front of them. Rescued and placed at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GReP), they have shown positive development and start to sing. Which is a positive sign of confidence and motivation. Just when things are looking bright, they are again put through another traumatic experience of being removed from that rehab.
The recent report on the way PERHILITAN officers (Wild Life Department) handling of two juvenile gibbons, Ara & Goku at GReP in Pahang, was unacceptable by any standard.
They were transferred from their large rehabilitation enclosure into a small makeshift cage and passing through a fast flowing river and then transported at the back of an open lorry in the middle of hot afternoon, disregarding the gibbons well-being. The gibbons were obviously traumatized by demonstrating chest rocking behavior (a sign of zoochosis). Zoochosis is a psychological issue which if not treated immediately with systematic behavioral therapy, would never ever be cured and be able to be wild again.
NGO which runs GReP for the last 5 years has accumulated expertise, skills and experience in gibbon rehabilitation such as;
i. Headed by our own Malaysian Gibbon Expert in IUCN's Small Apes Section, Primatologist Mariani Ramli (Bam Arrogancia)
ii. The Rehabilitation Project follows strict International Guidelines (Best Practice Guideline for the Rehabilitation and Translocation of Gibbons – IUCN 2015)
iii. This Rehabilitation Center is also being audited by independent auditors from European Alliance Rescue Centre & Sanctuaries (EARS) and Wildlife Impact (WI).
iv. Bam received the prestigious 2018 Conservationist Award from American Society of Primatologist.
Despite of new applications every year and engagement with the authority for a package of special permits to allow for Gibbons Rehabilitation process to proceed legally, the NGO has yet to receive any positive response.
On the same note, the relevant authority hasn’t had the reputation of having adequate expertise and facilities in gibbon rehabilitation by any standard. PERHILITAN's National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai is in fact a Rescue Center rather than a rehabilitation centre.
Wildlife “rescue” and “rehabilitation” are two different terms. “Rescue” refers to the removal of wildlife from an unsuitable condition or from illegal captive situation, while “rehabilitation” is the active process of equipping these individuals with survival skills before releasing them to the wild habitat.
Please join us in supporting their struggle to save the endangered gibbons in Malaysia and appeal to the government of Malaysia in granting the permit for the NGO to run the first ever full scale rehabilitation centre in Malaysia according to international standard and continue to pursue initiatives in gibbon conservation which is facing the threats of extinction.
We are doing this not only for the current, but also for the future generation.