In 2020, as part of an ambitious rewilding project in the forest surrounding the iconic Angkor Wat, a pair of endangered pileated gibbons were released by APSARA, the Forestry Administration (FA), and conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance. This is the third pair of pileated gibbons that have been successfully released into the forest since the project started in 2013.
Cambodia is the world stronghold for the pileated gibbon, but habitat destruction and capture for the illegal wildlife trade jeopardizes the species listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains, mainland Southeast Asia’s last unfragmented rainforest under the protection of Wildlife Alliance – Ministry of Environment rangers, holds the largest known population of pileated gibbons.
Since their establishment, Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team have rescued around 70,000 animals from Cambodia’s illegal wildlife trade. The NGO has also released smooth-coated otters, Indian muntjac, common palm civets, and silvered langurs into the forest around the temples of Angkor as part of the project. Wildlife Alliance and APSARA will continue to monitor the gibbons to ensure that they thrive in their new home.
Destination Asia Cambodia’s general manager, Jason Blackwell, will be visiting the Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Release Station, situated in the Cardamom Mountains, as part of an upcoming FAM trip. For more information on the Cardamom Mountains and inspiration for your next trip, explore our interactive ebook.