Flight of the Gibbon’s Conservation Efforts

It’s always good to know you’re supporting a business which cares about its community and Flight of the Gibbon is one such business. Many of South East Asia’s indigenous species are at risk, including well loved primates such as orang-utans and gibbons. Flight of the Gibbon invests a portion of its profits back into conservation work in several Asian locations. By booking a tour with them, you can play a small part in something important.

Reintroducing gibbons

White-handed gibbons are a threatened species across their habitats, with only around 80,000 of these beautiful primates left worldwide. They’d been completely wiped out in Mae Kampong. Hunted for their meat and popular as pets despite being wild animals, gibbons are also vulnerable to habitat destruction. Logging in Thailand is illegal, but despite this, only about 10% of primary forest remains.

Mae Kampong is the base for the Flight of the Gibbon experience near Chiang Mai and staff introduced a breeding pair, Thong Lott and Thong Dee, back in 2007. Their baby boy was born in 2011 followed by a girl in 2013. It’s common for gibbons to only have a few offspring, much like humans, and this typically low birth rate makes the species especially vulnerable in areas of poaching or habitat loss.

To see two children being successfully reared by their parents is encouraging news. Many customers will get to see the furry family while zip lining, especially early in the morning when you may also hear them singing as they wake up! Gibbons are territorial, so that different family groups can’t be mixed, but it’s hoped this small success story might spur others on to do something similar.

It’s not only Mae Kampong that had lost its gibbon population – the white-handed gibbon was no longer found in the forests of Angkor either. Spurred on by their success in northern Thailand and working with the Wildlife Alliance of Cambodia, Flight of the Gibbon helped to pay for the reintroduction of a mating pair in Cambodia as well. They’ve had their first offspring already, the first to be born in the Angkor area in over a hundred years. It’s hoped the two, named Baray and Saranick, will add a sibling to their family in the near future.

Reforestation is a key element of conservation

Without trees, the loss of habitat scuppers any attempts at gibbon conservation. The area around Flight of the Gibbon’s Chiang Mai operation is lush, but other areas haven’t been so fortunate. Flight of the Gibbon have planted over 30,000 new trees in and around Mae Kampong as well as involving the local community in raising awareness about the issue to future proof conservation efforts. The reforestation project at Angkor is in its early stages, but this year the first 5000 hardwood trees will be planted in accordance with the APSARA Authority’s recommendations.

When you hurtle through the canopy suspended on your harness, be brave. Open your eyes and look around you, and then smile in the knowledge that you’re supporting a company committed to keeping the forest green.