Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 13:26 UK

Businessman's plan to save gibbon

A Western Hoolock Gibbon
The Western Hoolock Gibbon could be extinct within three decades

A green energy expert is leading a project to help save an endangered species of primate in Asia.

Mike Jordan, who usually works for Atmos Consulting in Flintshire, is trying to relocate isolated families of Western Hoolock Gibbon to protected areas of habitat.

It is only found in North-east India and Bangladesh where populations are in steep decline because of deforestation.

Mr Jordan said: "The future survival of the species relies upon this project."

Agriculture, settlement and commercial activities such as oil exploration have left many of the remaining gibbons stranded in tiny patches of woodland left after the large forests have been cleared.

Bleak

Conservationists are warning that the Western Hoolock Gibbons have become completely isolated and are facing a short and bleak future.

Re-locating wild animals is always a difficult and complicated process
Mike Jordan

An international workshop in Bangladesh in 2005 predicted that most populations would become extinct in the next 20 to 30 years unless urgent action is taken.

Their survival relies on a project to catch isolated family groups and relocate them into much larger patches of protected forest where they can be with other gibbon families as part of larger, safer populations.

Mr Jordan helped start the process with a meeting of 40 Indian and Bangladeshi foresters and conservationists in Guwahati, Assam.

He said: "Re-locating wild animals is always a difficult and complicated process, but to do it on this scale and with apes is particularly challenging.

"It is difficult to work in the rough terrain of this region of India, particularly with the heavy monsoon season and it can be difficult accessing some areas," he added.

"It is hoped however that during 2009 we can start to catch and move the first families to their new larger and safer homes in protected forest reserves."




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