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Aymane – Grade 11 UWCT Student

Tony has a fascinating story. He is recovering from the disappearance of his first wife and baby. Now, he is given a chance to have a family again. He is currently married to a second wife and has another baby. 

Tony is a gibbon. Now, “A gibbon has two wives” is not a sentence you will hear every day, and this is the magic of the sanctuary. I go there and I get to explore new things. Through the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Tony is given the chance to have a family again. Gibbons have been harmed by human activities and do not deserve any of that. On the contrary, they deserve all freedom to be in the jungle and have a peaceful and wild life.

The previous weeks had a major impact on my understanding of the gibbons’ lives. Every time I would go to the gibbons’ sanctuary, I would feel closer to them, I would learn new things and I would always go back home with a smile, always. From the day I joined the gibbons’ team, about three weeks ago, I was lucky to have Kru Roch as the person in charge because of his very high commitment in taking care of gibbons for a long time. Kru Roch used to be present during all the steps of the rehabilitation program, starting from watching the gibbons in the forest to find which ones are in need of this program to releasing them in the wild forest. 

Our task, as students, was to make their temporary home in the sanctuary a better place. It consisted of cleaning the gibbons’ cages and replacing old bamboos with younger and stronger ones. First, was the process of bamboo selection. Then, came the cutting of the bamboo depending on the size of the cage. After that, we removed the old bamboos, cleaned the cage from both sides and fixed the new ones against the cage. A souvenir from the past popped up in my mind when selecting the bamboo. Kru Roch was telling us the difference of sound between knocking on a young and an old bamboo tree. I immediately remembered the times where I would go with my father to the market and he would start knocking on all watermelons just to find the right sound he is looking for. What a comparison, right? 

When removing the old bamboo, I realized how scared the two gibbons were. Then, I was informed of the complete dependence of the sanctuary’s gibbons on humans in order for them to grow. By putting bamboos and wheels attached to a rope, the gibbons learn to swing their arms, therefore, their muscles develop in the process. In other words, they are being initiated into the wildlife. 

Another reflection came up to my mind when looking at the gibbons’ behaviour. Kunso and Areya, two gibbons, were moving fast all around the neighbouring cage whenever we would make a sound. At this time, there was no way I could know if they were happy about having a cleaner room or if they were scared of us. I actually like going to the sanctuary, not because I want to be thanked for my actions (I don’t even know how gibbons say thank you), but because this is the least someone can do for an animal to have a better and more peaceful life. 

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