Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gibbons return to Angkor

Gibbons return to Angkor

A pileated gibbon hangs in a tree after being released from its enclosure into the wild yesterday in Siem Reap
A pileated gibbon hangs in a tree after being released from its enclosure into the wild yesterday in Siem Reap. A recent count recorded only 450 to 500 pileated gibbons in Cambodia. Koam Chanrasmey

Gibbons return to Angkor

Two endangered pileated gibbons – touted as future parents to a new generation in the wild – were yesterday released into forest surrounding the Angkor temple complex in Siem Reap.

The sound of the two gibbons’ cries had resonated from an enclosure in the forest at various times since June, but yesterday marked the moment when the barrier between captivity and the wild
was removed.

“The pair of gibbons was raised at Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Centre [PTWRC] and has since been living in a rehabilitation enclosure [in the forest] with limited human presence,” said Nina Chang Samean, a department director at Apsara, the body that manages the temple area.

The returning of gibbons to the forest is part of what will be a bigger wildlife release project – conducted by Apsara, the Forestry Administration and Wildlife Alliance – in the Angkor archaeological park, Samean said.

“They will live in this forest together and create a new generation,” Samean said, adding that a second pair could be released within several months.

Ung Sam Ath, deputy director general of the Forestry Administration, said studies showed that the pileated gibbons had been decimated by the illegal wildlife trade and destruction of their habitats, especially between 1985 and 1990.

“Recently, there have been only 450 to 500 pileated gibbons recorded as living in Cambodia,” he said.

Apsara director Bun Narith said the gibbons would attract even more visitors to Cambodia’s most popular tourist site.

“The sound of the pileated gibbon is back at Angkor,” he said. “Everything we have lost over so many decades is coming back, and it will surely play a part in attracting tourists.”

Narith appealed to authorities and villagers in the area to work together to protect the endangered species.

Male pileated gibbons have black fur, while females’ fur is white, grey and black.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Using tech innovation to tackle Cambodia’s rampant road deaths

    Cutting corners, rampant phone use, speeding and driving through red lights – these are just some of the reasons why driving in Phnom Penh can often feel like a city-wide game of dodgems. The high death toll on the nation’s roads – combined with several high-profile