Free At Last

Mon, 05/11/2012 - 5:04pm

The Aspinall Foundation, a world leading conservation charity, has been working, with other conservationists, for the past eight years in Java, Indonesia, to protect Javanese primates, such as the Javan langur and gibbon.

The Aspinall Foundation’s Java Primate Project team have been working tirelessly towards this primate reintroduction - and also working with members of the local communities, educating and raising awareness, whilst working alongside forestry commissions and governments to protect large tracts of forest.

Damian Aspinall, Chairman Of The Foundation said: ‘The Javan langur is listed by the IUCN as vulnerable.  The reasons for population decline include hunting, deforestation and the illegal pet trade. Our team has carried out extensive population surveys which have produced disturbing results and it is now thought that the wild population is less than 2700 individuals.’

 On Saturday 15th September The Aspinall Foundation’s Java Primate Project released 13 wild born Javan langurs into a 2000 hectare band of forest in the east of the island of Java.  This forest is also an important watershed for the city of Malang.

Damian commented: ‘These langurs have been held in captivity in cramped and unsuitable conditions for up to nine years each, after they were taken from the forest to supply the demand for primates as pets.  Thanks to the work of our team in Indonesia in collaboration with local communities, forestry commissions and the Indonesian Government, these primates will have a second chance of life in the wild.’

The Java Primate Project team’s work is far from over as they will now be tracking and monitoring the langurs every day for an entire year, whilst local guides and forest rangers will be employed to patrol the release site. Their journey into the jungle can be followed at www.aspinallfoundation.org/backtothewild.

There are also plans afoot for 2013 which will see an entire group of captive born langurs and a Javan gibbon, currently housed at The Aspinall Foundation’s wild animal parks in Kent, translocated and eventually released into these protected areas of forest as part of the conservation charity’s Back To The Wild scheme.

Made Wedana, Java Primate Project Director said: ‘I am glad to see those langurs will come back to their home and life as wild animals again after more than nine years in captivity.  This is the first reintroduction The Aspinall Foundation’s Java Primate Project has conducted after signed agreements with the Indonesian Government in 2010 and will continue with the next reintroduction for rehabilitated Javan langurs and gibbons in 2013.’

The Aspinall Foundation, headed by conservationist, Damian Aspinall, will continue to send animals back to the wild throughout 2013 and beyond, in a bid to save endangered and vulnerable animals from extinction and they are asking for the public’s support, by using a text to donate scheme.