Written by Eka Cahyaningrum (BNF’s Primate Scientist) and Jesica Karina (BNF’s Education Staff)
We all know about the orangutan, one of the most famous apes from Indonesia. But many people don’t know about gibbon, even though there are many species of gibbon spread throughout Indonesia. Gibbons are more commonly called ‘monkeys’. Many people don’t know that the gibbon is, in fact, an ape.
This fact became our concern because the communities near gibbon habitat are also not aware. So we decided to make a movement to share knowledge of the existent of gibbons near their village. In hope, they can know about this ape and will protect it in the future.
I collaborated with BNF Education Team to create a new programme called Gibbon Youth Campaign (GYC). Through this campaign, we are targeting high school students in the city of Palangka Raya (only a few kilometres away from Sebangau National Park; home to over 26,000 white-bearded gibbons).
GYC is a class that shares knowledge about primates, especially gibbon. We also discuss the environmental issues surrounding communities like illegal hunting and forest fires. The students learn about the differences between apes and monkeys. When they have heard about how to tell the differences between species, they try to identify all the primates that live in Sebangau National Park peat-swamp forest.
We try to teach them in a fun way instead of lecturing them with a lot of material. We deliver information through games, but at the same time, they can also expand their knowledge.
BNF’s Education Programme team and Primate Scientist shared the information about gibbon and environmental issues with students
Photo by Duncan Murrell/BNF
The response from the students has been positive. They look really excited to learn about gibbon. At the end of the class, they also create an awareness campaign about gibbons and environmental protection in their community. Most of the ideas have been really creative. Some of the students suggested using social media to spread conservation message, which is really good because that means they will bring knowledge to a wider community.
The final event of GYC will be held on International Gibbon Day in October. All the students will compete with each other to show their knowledge about gibbon and environmental issues. The winner will be invited to visit the Natural Laboratory of Peat-swamp Forest (LAHG), a special zone within the Sebangau National Park with BNF and experience “Being a Gibbon Scientist for a day.” They will not only learn about the theory but also get the opportunity to do the research themselves.