The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Calibrating a conservation strategy for silvery gibbons (Hylobates moloch)


1Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland, 2The Javan Primates Conservation Project, 3Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, 4School of the Environment, University of Auckland

Thursday 2:45-3:00, Galleria South Add to calendar

We present a composite picture of silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch) conservation based on both quantitative and qualitative research in West Java, Indonesia. From nearly a decade of monitoring, we report on the changing age/sex composition of groups in the Cagar Alam Leuweung Sancang (CALS). Whilst the census population has remained relatively stable during the study period (2003-2011) loss of individual gibbons and resulting changes to the current effective population size (Ne=14.0, or 17.65% decline in five years) are of considerable concern for the long-term viability of this population. Losses of both infant and adult members of the population are likely attributable to an ongoing capture of animals for the live animal trade. Drawing on recent ethnographic research, we examine current threats and conservation tactics, especially in relation to recent confiscation and rehabilitation efforts. We interpret our results from the theoretical perspectives of both community and political ecology. The factors affecting the gibbons in CALS and the social context of current conservation tactics are in many ways representative of conditions throughout the species range. Therefore, this research is pertinent to the development and implementation of a coherent conservation strategy for this endangered species.

This research is supported by the Faculty of Arts and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland. Additionally, this research has been approved by both the Animal Ethics Committee and the Human Participants Ethics Committee at the University of Auckland.

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