project news

Ground-breaking gibbon research with Frontier

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 8 Feb 2009


Frontier is planning to begin a major gibbon monitoring programme in and around the Cardamom mountains of western Cambodia, in order to reverse the decline of the pileated gibbon. Researchers based in Botum Sakor National Park, one of the major strongholds remaining for this vital species, want to establish what measures must be taken to ensure its long-term survival.

Alarmingly, if current deforestation trends continue throughout the next half-century, the large Botum Sakor population is likely to be decimated to critical levels, with other populations of the species in Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos similarly threatened. Frontier plans to use triangulation methods, listening for gibbons from high-altitude positions, before searching areas of estimated high gibbon-density. This will allow us to survey gibbon habitat use and assess the species' versatility to habitat change.

Today, Botum Sakor still comes alive with the zealous athleticism of more than 2000 groups of pileated gibbon. The forest resounds to a cacophony of whoops, hoots and screeches which the gibbons use in complex communicative songs as they bounce through the trees. This spectacle may soon cease to exist, with the energy and vitality the gibbons bring to the forest being sapped as loggers slash and burn it away.

Cambodia plays host to an impressive list of charismatic mammals, including the enigmatic clouded leopard, asian elephant, sun bear, pangolin, fishing cat, slow loris and Asiatic wild-dog (dhole). Many are recognized as globally endangered, and most are threatened by the extremely high deforestation rates in South-East Asia. Frontier wants to help kick-start conservation efforts in the region to save these fantastic species.

Read more about our Cambodia Project