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EditPhoto Title:So Happy Together:
A Gibbon Love Story
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EditImage Description:A couple of sitting silvery gibbons.
EditPhoto Credit:© Lukas Blazek
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Some of us fall in love at first sight.

For Jowo and Bombom, a pair of rescued silvery gibbons, it was love at first touch.

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      EditImage URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_54494700.jpg
      EditImage Description: (Hylobates moloch) Javan Gibbon, AKA Silvery Gibbon at Rehabilitation Center in Bodogol
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      This primate couple’s meet-cute starts at the Javan Gibbon Center on the edge of Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park in West Java, Indonesia.

      With support from Conservation International and the Javan Gibbon Foundation, the center’s staff rehabilitates gibbons rescued from the illegal pet trade — one reason the gibbons are endangered. As tree-dwelling primates, gibbons also face quickly disappearing habitat due to massive deforestation as demand for forest products rises.

      For the ones who are lucky to be rescued by the Java Gibbon Center, love is also in store. Rare among their fellow primates, gibbons are monogamous and only live in the wild as bonded pairs, most often with one or two offspring — so rehabilitation efforts depend on successful matchmaking.

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      EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Sunarto
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      Successful — and adorable. Watch what happened when Jowo and Bombom first met, an encounter that started with a graze of a finger and ended with — well, just watch and see for yourself:

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      EditCaption Title:Bombom and her son Yudi, two silvery gibbons after their release into the wild
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      EditPhoto Credit:© Anton Ario
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      ​​

      Of course, like most blind dates, matches can end in disaster. Gibbons are quite selective when choosing a mate, and if one is just not that into the other, they may exchange a punch or two instead of smooches.

      Once successfully matched, the gibbons begin their honeymoon phase and seal their bond in a shared enclosure at the center for about four to five years. Anton Ario, program manager, looks to another pair of wild gibbons — affectionately named Romeo and Juliet — that he first spotted near the national park in 2002 for inspiration about the qualities of a good match. Signs of a solid pairing include the couple’s healthy social interaction, like grooming, protecting each other, vocalizing — and ultimately, baby gibbon making.

      Which Jowo and Bombom did. Twice. They’re now the proud parents of daughter Yani and son Yudi, and the family of four was released together into the wild in March 2014. Every morning in West Java’s Malabar protected forest, Bombom (the female) defends her family’s territory by singing haunting calls that can echo for miles throughout the forest.

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        EditImage:/sitecollectionimages/ci_48740655.jpg
        EditImage Alt Text:CI staff teaches students about the importance of national forest preservation. People depend on this land as a water and food source.
        EditCaption Title:Students learn about the importance of conserving Indonesia's forests — for the benefit of both gibbons and people, who depend on the forests for water, food and livelihoods.
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        EditPhoto Credit:© Jessica Scranton
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        So far, theirs is a happily-ever-after ending. But to ensure that there’s enough viable habitat for future gibbon couples, CI supports forest protection and restoration in Indonesia’s Gedepahala region, located just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Jakarta. A “green wall” of trees protects the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park and Gunung Halimun Salak National Park from encroachment and also creates local livelihood opportunities: CI works with community groups in the buffer zone to grow, plant and maintain seedlings using a mix of native trees and fruit trees that provide income.

        The Java Gibbon Center is also near the Bodogol Conservation Education Center, where visitors can learn about the importance of protecting forests for wildlife — and people. This area is also part of a watershed that helps to filter and provide a reliable flow of water to over 30 million people.

        So for both the gibbons and the people of Java, let’s work together to make sure the last page of their shared storybook reads: “And they all lived happily ever after.”

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        Newsletter

        EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
        EditNewsletter Message:Get updates on CI’s efforts to restore ecosystems that support both gibbons and people, as well as the rest of our conservation work.
        EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Title:Thank you for joining
        EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:We can't protect the planet without your support​
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        EditDonate Message:Donate to CI to support conservation efforts like the one that paired Jowo and Bombom.
        EditDonate Button Text:Give now
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