MAY 2020

Saving Malaysia’s Gibbons

Hidden in the depths of the Malays ian jungle i s an extraordinary woman making it her life’s mission to rehabilitate gibbons.


H aving spent more than a decade with the Malaysian Wildlife Department, MARIANI “BAM” RAMLI believes in the need for raising awareness on conservation in general, and rehabilitation issues particularly. So, she has branched out alone in order to follow what has become undeniably a passion: that of giving white-handed gibbons ( Hylobates lar ) – the only singing apes of Malaysia – a voice. I’ve come to assist as a volunteer (for a mere five weeks) on her project to save this ape, which appears on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. And I’m experiencing first-hand the sound of these creatures as they sing – for love, for property, for family, for the joy of it. It’s a haunting sound, somewhat mournful but also beautiful, as it rings clearly through the misty jungle each morning. The males and females join together in a duet, each distinctive in contributing their own song. I’m learning to distinguish by ear the male song from the female; I am also learning to distinguish the individuals that are singing.



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