A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Endangered gibbon born at Angkor Wat


A baby pileated gibbon hangs from its mother in the Siem Reap Angkor Archaeological Park. Apsara Authority
A baby pileated gibbon hangs from its mother in the Siem Reap Angkor Archaeological Park. Apsara Authority


Endangered gibbon born at Angkor Wat
Mon, 11 July 2016 ppp
Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Donna M Airoldi


A second pair of endangered pileated gibbons released into the forest near Angkor Wat last year have had a baby.

The Apsara Authority posted news of the recently arrived baby on its website over the weekend.

Wildlife Alliance director of rescue care and release Nick Marx said the organisation had tried to keep the news quiet, as the first weeks of a newborn’s life were “a delicate time”.

“With so much bad news in the world, it’s understandable that people would want to share this bit of good news,” reasoned Marx, who added that the gender of the newborn would not be clear for at least four years.

“You can’t tell until it reaches maturity – if the colour turns black, it’s a male; if it stays brown, it’s female,” he said.


The gender of the baby born to the first pair of gibbons released in the park in September 2014 also remains unknown.

Years of civil war and poaching wiped out the gibbon and other species from the area.

“For a decade, we could not hear the sound of the gibbon in the Angkor area. Now we can not only listen to their sad sound, but we also can see them,” said Tea Kemsuth, provincial director of the Siem Reap Forestry Administration, adding their presence has attracted tourists.

This is why Marx wanted to wait a month or so before making the announcement. “If people begin to intrude, we’ll have to deal with that,” he said.

Wildlife Alliance, Apsara and the Forestry Administration are working together to return the area’s native animals. In addition to the gibbons, the group has released three langurs and four civets. According to Marx, there are also plans to reintroduce sambar and muntjac.

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