Will Indonesia be Able to Save Last Habitat of Javan Gibbon?
The species is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008, with an estimated wild population of less than 2,500 mature individuals
The silvery gibbon, also known as the Javan gibbon, is a primate species that is endemic to the Indonesian island of Java. Unfortunately, amid climate change and human encroachment, the small pocket of forest on the heavily populated island of Java as the habitat of the Javan gibbon is in grave danger of disappearing.
Indonesian authorities and researchers are working to preserve the last habitat of Javan gibbons on the Indonesian island. It is crucial to protect the species as the silvery gibbon plays a role in regenerating forest vegetation by dispersing seeds.
Local conservation group SwaraOwa is tracing a population of about 400 individuals living in a 73-kilometer reserve in Petungkriyono Forest in central Java. According to researcher Arif Setiawan, there are 70 groups that can be regularly spotted compared to the 50 in 2021, but the habitat is facing a grave danger.
The number of gibbons is slowly rising while the integrity of the forest is threatened by anthropogenic activities. SwaraOwa and the government organize outreach programs with the local community each month and have installed warning signs banning hunting and illegal logging in the forest.
They work with local village chiefs to cultivate shade-grown coffee as a business venture, which can be accomplished without damaging the forest area.
While human encroachment can be dealt with some effort, the bigger difficulty to address is the issue of the rapidly changing climate.
Even though people and authorities are trying to save the last natural habitat of Javan gibbon, it is difficult to say that they will succeed. The damage inflicted by humans has increased to devastating proportions and could push the species on the verge of extinction.