Thursday 6 May 2021

The gibbons that came back from 'extinction'


A species so rare we thought it was extinct

Here’s a challenge for you – say cao vit out loud. Bear with me, I know it’s unusual.

You’ve just successfully sounded like the cao vit gibbon - an ape found only on the border of Vietnam and China, and named onomatopoeically after its distinctive call.

You’ve also mimicked the call of one of the rarest primates on the planet, with numbers so low they were once believed extinct.

Their entire species was thought to have been wiped out, but one small group was rediscovered in a remote forest on the China/Vietnam border. They alone were able to cling on, numbering 135 at last count.

And that is now the entire world population.

They are closer to the brink than almost any other primate.

The forests around them are receding at speed - with agriculture cutting closer and closer to the gibbons’ last refuge. Increasing contact with humans brings with it the threat of hunting that drove them perilously close to extinction in the first place.

Their final stronghold - a 1,600-hectare protected area - is now too small for their population to grow much larger. Without more forest, their numbers can’t recover enough to give their species a fighting chance at a future.

They need more protected land.

So, through your donations we’re helping to expand this 1,600-hectare stronghold into one of almost 6,000 hectares. By working with, and supporting, neighbouring villages we’re helping secure new gibbon territory that would otherwise be whittled away.

We thought we’d lost this species once before. We’ve been given a second chance. Through your support we can take that chance, and we can save these primates’ lives.


Please help secure and safeguard this territory. If everyone reading this donates just £3, you could help give these gibbons enough room to increase their population, and protect their future. Thank you.

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