HomeDiscoveryMen and women in natureAurélien Brulé
Aurélien Brulé

A passion for gibbons

I met a gibbon for the first time in a zoo when I was 12. I was fascinated with gibbons from the beginning, because they seemed quite unique and so I tried to get to know them by observing them for years, simply by sitting in front of their cage from morning to night, simply by trying to understand what was going on. From the moment I met the gibbons at the zoo, and even before I met them, when I was fascinated with monkeys, it was clear in my mind that I wanted to go and see them in their natural habitat. As I grew up, I also understood the issues surrounding monkeys, so my desire grew to go off and work in the field to help them, to do something tangible. From the beginning, I arrived in Indonesia with a limited notion of the situation. I was thinking about the gibbons only, then I realized that there were also people here, and that protecting the gibbons could not succeed without involving the local populations. We naturally had to inform them about the gibbon issue, but we also had to become a partner with the local populations to actually succeed in protecting the forest. In the case of the Hampapak reserve, I went to see the villagers and basically told them that here we have this forest that’s still unspoiled, there are still lots of animals in it, so it would be good to protect it, and how do we do that together?

print send digg delicious
  • Présentement 2.80/5 étoile.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
comments 2 comments

Aurélien Brulé

Life in gibbon country

At the age of 13, Aurélien Brulé was hired at a zoo in France, where he devoted his time to meticulous observation of the primates. He grew fond of the White-handed Gibbons, small tree-dwelling monkeys threatened with extinction. One day when he was feeling depressed, a female gibbon took his hand and squeezed it, as though to cheer him up. Deeply moved by this act of tenderness, he promised her that he would fight to protect her and her kind. He would keep this promise by publishing Le Gibbon à mains blanches when was only 17, which further fed his yearning to take off for the land of the gibbons.

In the late 1990s, at the age of 18, Aurélien Brulé left France to go and meet the gibbons. In Thailand, he observed and studied the monkeys. The local inhabitants welcomed him warmly, calling him Chanee, which means “gibbon” in the Thai language. Despite his youth, Chanee dreamed of building a centre for the rehabilitation and rescue of gibbons. The dream finally came true on the island of Borneo, Indonesia, where he created the Association Kalaweit in 1999.

Gibbons in peril

When he arrived in Indonesia, Chanee realized that the situation of the gibbons was very precarious. Hunted for their meat or captured for pets, the primates were also seeing their habitat steadily disappear, in part due to palm oil plantations. In Indonesia alone, over 6,000 gibbons lived in captivity with individuals. Chanee decided to intervene and establish a first rehabilitation camp for the gibbon monkey on the island of Hampapak. A few years later, a second rehabilitation camp was established in Sumatra, on Marak Island. 

Gibbon monkeys are highly vulnerable and fragile primates. They require care and follow-up for a long time. Before they can return to their natural habitat, they must relearn behaviour essential for their survival. Rehabilitating a gibbon can take up to seven years.

Related articles
Gibbons (Endangered Species)
In the remote rainforests of Asia, human activity has caught up with the gibbons.
24 - Life in the Land of the Gibbons
Deep in the Indonesian forest, Aurélien Brulé devotes his career to saving the gibbons.


Par mimi, 2014-12-28, 22h35

Merci beaucoup pour ton travail et devotion pour les Gibbons:) Tu es un ANGE de DIEU. Je vous embrasse et un de plus pour les gibbons.:)

Email envoyé à l'Embassade d'Indonésie Ottawa

Par Joël Pagé, 2014-10-20, 22h35

Voici le courriel envoyé à l'embassade d'Indonésie à Ottawa: I am watching at this moment a TV report at the French CBC channel (Radio-Canada) and what the Indonesian Government is tolerating for the exclusive benefit of the palm oil industry is absolutely unacceptable and against the rich biodiversity of these forests. Your government has to STOP this deforestation process as soon as possible. Joël Pagé CANADA

Leave a comment

Remove image Images must be in JPG format and not exceed 10 MB.
Resolution must be less than 3,000 by 3,000 pixels.

Enter the characters appearing in the image above. If you’re unable to read them, please click here.