The Silvery gibbon are found in Western Java, but sometimes occur in the central province. The climate in Java is tropical with an average daily temperature range from 25 - 33o c year round, with a humidity approaching 75%.
The Silvery gibbon, Hylobates moloch, was last assessed and listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered in 2008.
This species are scheduled under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), restricting trade and requiring authorisation for all import, export, re-export and introductions. Although Silvery gibbon have been under legal protection in Java since 1924, concerns have been raised about the status of this protection (Geissmann 2007).
Forest loss and resulting habitat fragmentation is the main threat to wild populations of Silvery gibbons. The island of Java has been farmed for around 1,000 years and overcrowded with people for the last two centuries. Silvery gibbons infants are taken as pets by killing their mother, and hundreds of individuals are known to be held captive in Indonesia (Nijman 2005; Supriatna 2006). Hunters earn about $50 AUD per animal (Supriatna 2006), which is an attractive amount to low income persons (Setia wan et al 2012).
A proposal to import the Silvery gibbon was received and a risk assessment undertaken. The risk assessment concluded that the risk posed by importing Silvery gibbon into Tasmania is ‘moderate’.
Following an initial risk assessment, the Department considers permitting the importation of animals assessed as ‘moderate risk’ into the State as long as appropriate mitigation measures, enforced through Exhibition Licence, can be identified and applied.
Mitigation options to reduce the risk associated with importing Silvery gibbon include:
- Limiting importation to registered wildlife parks or zoos to ensure the holding facility meets the stringent keeping standards Tasmania applies to all institutions.
- Requiring any wildlife park or zoo to submit a Silvery gibbon Species Management Plan (including enclosure details) prior to import.
- The wildlife exhibition facility can clearly demonstrate they have proficient keepers for that particular species.