Let us introduce you to ‘Abell’ a 6-year-old lar gibbon (Hylobates lar), another tragic victim of the illegal wildlife trade. She has been kept as a pet for most her 6 years on earth. Her mother slaughtered, she was then caught from the wild and illegally sold on to be a pet. She has been kept inside the house of a family in Bangkok for the last 6 years. As expected for a gibbon of her age, she had started to become more aggressive and less receptive to being treated like a human baby, she had begun to bite her owner. That’s when we received a call to help.
The lar gibbon is listed as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is believed to have undergone a rapid population decline of more than 50% in the last three generations (45 years). This is due to rampant forest loss and loss of mature individuals due to hunting. It is sometimes hunted for its meat and the capture of young gibbons for the pet trade is rampant, particularly here in Thailand, the mother is shot so that the infant can be taken.
In some parts of Thailand there are several populations where numbers are at least in the thousands, though in northern Thailand they are very rare. The largest population is in Kaeng Krachan National Park, which probably has on the order of 3,000-4,000 individuals. The Western Forest Complex may well have on the order of 10,000 animals, and likely upwards of 1,000 survive in the western part of Khao Yai National Park (Brockelman, W. & Geissmann, T. 2008).
Abell arrived at the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre two days ago. Upon arrival the fear and trauma were visible in her ever telling eyes. She is now safe, away from harm, and will be given the best second chance at life. She is currently undergoing a period in quarantine, we hope that in the future she will be able to re-socialize with her own species, ideally in a male-female pair bond. Who knows the wild might be calling for this special young lady. We will keep you posted on her progress. Keep Wildlife Wild and Not as Pets!!!