Silvery Gibbon Conservation Project In Lengkong
By Inge Tielen
About 20years ago the area in Lengkong was mostly covered by tropical forest, however due to logging on large scale between 1999 and 2003 this vast area of forest is now fragmented into small forest patches. The animals that always lived in these regions are now facing extinction and due to increased human-wildlife conflicts Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre and Wanicare started a project to monitor some key species, such as the Silvery gibbon.
In 2013 a research was started that focused on three forest patches to assess the living conditions of the silvery gibbons in this region, in order to evaluate their environment we started with measuring the food availability, disturbance, logging and possible poaching. During field visits we identified and measured tree species and walked transects to quantify logging activity and disturbance. Besides we interviewed people living near the forest patches to get more information about numbers in the past, opinions and threats. Already in a early stage of these field visits in became clear that the Silvery Gibbon lived more wide spread as initially understood, therefore field visits are still ongoing to get information about the total number of silvery gibbons living in how many fragmented forest patches.
Currently of 5 forest areas known there are silvery gibbons found in 3 forest patches, of which one is living under great threat since their food source is almost completely disappeared. With the results of this study we hope to advise the local governments of actions that need to be undertaken to ensure the future of the gibbons and other animals that still try to survive in this region.
Besides the observation project, Cikananga Education Team also had the chance to meet the farmers around the forest. We informed about the wildlife conservation education to the people in hope that it is able to change their perception about the living of animals in habitat with more respect to animals and protect the forest as their home.