October 4, 2008
WALES: Energy Firm Helps Save Rare Gibbons
By CARL BUTLER
A FLINTSHIRE company is helping to save one of the world's most endangered species.
Atmos Consulting based in Mold, usually works providing renewable energy and environmental consultancy throughout Wales, England and Scotland but conservation expert Mike Jordan who spent years as a zoo curator, has been doing something rather different.
He headed to North East India to help plan and run an international project aimed at saving the endangered gibbon population from extinction.
The Western Hoolock Gibbon is one of the most threatened primate species in the world and is only found in North-east India and Bangladesh, where their populations are declining and fragmented by loss of the natural forest.
Many of the remaining gibbons are now stranded in tiny patches of forest, completely isolated from other gibbons.
Their survival relies on a project to catch these isolated family groups and relocate them into much larger patches of protected forest where they can be with other gibbon families.
Mike kick-started this process with a meeting of 40 Indian and Bangladeshi foresters and conservationists in Guwahati, Assam.
Organised by the Indian conservation organisation Zoo Outreach Organisation and funded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the aim is to highlight priority areas, including planning the gibbons' movement and training local foresters.
Mike said: "Re-locating wild animals is always a difficult and complicated process, but to do it on this scale and with apes is particularly challenging, however the future survival of the species relies upon this project.
"It is difficult to work in the rough terrain of this region of India.
"It is hoped however that during 2009 we can start to catch and move the first families to their new larger and safer homes in protected forest reserves."
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