The forest fires that cause devastation across Indonesia every year inspired the Borneo Nature Foundation team to publish a children’s storybook with important messages about Borneo’s incredible wildlife, the importance of protecting its last remaining forests and the serious threat of the fires.
‘The Little Gibbon Who Lost His Song’, published in 2016, was a big team effort: written by Carolyn Thompson, illustrated by Rebecca Armson, book designed and project coordinated by Suzanne Turnock, translated by Verawati Aprillia, and editorial assistance from Joana Aragay and Riethma Yustiningtyas; all members of Borneo Nature Foundation.
2015 was designated Year of the Gibbon by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so gibbons, the lesser known of all the apes, were chosen as the ‘star’ species of the book. The book tells the story of Little Gibbon who becomes separated from his family in the thick, black smoke from a forest fire. Gibbons rely on singing to communicate with other members of their family but, as evidenced in OuTrop’s behavioural research, gibbons sing less in smoky conditions. After losing his song, the Little Gibbon goes on an epic journey through the forest, meeting many forest friends, in an effort to be reunited with his family. To stop the forest burning, local villagers come to the rescue. Only then can the forest be saved and, as the smoke clears, Little Gibbon can finally sing again and find his missing family.
This bilingual book (English and Indonesian) aims to give children an insight into the amazing species that call the forest home. They will themselves go on a journey discovering many forest animals and the interesting behaviours of these unique species. But, ultimately, our hope is for children to understand that the forest is at risk from fires and local people play a crucial role in keeping it safe for the future.
We are very grateful to all those involved in helping us publish the storybook, especially our funders who have made our gibbon behavioural research possible and as a result we are able to publish this book based on the findings of our own research. With special thanks to the Gibbon Conservation Alliance, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcus Foundation and IUCN Year of Gibbon 2015.
As well as using the book as part of our own education programme, we will be donating copies to schools and charities across Indonesia to be used as an educational tool. If you are interested in getting copies of ‘The Little Gibbon Who Lost His Song’, please email us at email@example.com for further details.