Illegal trading of primates remains a large problem despite first birth of baby gibbon in the wild from rescued parents

Tuesday, 07 November 2017

Gibbon image

A leading primate conservation researcher at Oxford Brookes University has welcomed the arrival of a baby gibbon - the first of the species to be born in the wild to parents that were rescued from the pet trade.

However, the illegal trade of the species remains a significant problem and more needs to be done to protect threatened primates.

As reported by the BBC, Professor Vincent Nijman and researchers at Oxford Brookes have seen evidence that pet shops and sellers – many in South East Asia – have openly advertised baby gibbons for sale as pets.

Professor Nijman notes that “"no-one is being punished”. Those who “come across a baby gibbon and have the option to capture it, they are motivated to do it. It represents money and doesn't represent any risk."

The problem is not exclusive to baby gibbons and a recent investigation led by Professor Nijman was published earlier this year on the problem of illegal trading of orangutans in Indonesia.

The report notes that orangutans have been protected in Indonesia since 1931 and are not allowed to be traded or kept as pets. The investigation found that between 1993 and 2016 at least 440 orangutans were formally confiscated but that only seven successful prosecutions took place with lenient sentences which are “too low to act as a deterrent”.

Primate conservation research is an area of expertise at Oxford Brookes. Over the last 16 years, over 450 students have worked to conserve primates through the University’s MSc and PhD in Primate Conservation.

A separate report earlier this year was co-authored by 31 internationally recognised experts on primate conservation, including academics from Oxford Brookes, and called for urgent action to protect the world’s dwindling primate populations.

Further information on primate conservation at Oxford Brookes can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.