Published: 00:01, 26 December 2016
A total of 15 Javan langurs have been returned to their natural Indonesian habitat from the Port Lympne Reserve in a bid to prevent their extinction.
Work by the Aspinall Foundation is being carried out to protect the wild but endangered species.
The animals, which included 13 captive-bred at the Foundation’s reserve and two more from Beauval Zoo in France, boarded a 15 hour direct flight from Gatwick to Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, on Sunday, December 18.
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The Port Lympne langurs are made up of three separate groups – one of three breeding females plus their four offspring, an all-male bachelor group made up of a father and his three sons and a pair of teenage brothers.
The Beauval Zoo langurs are a pair of “inseparable” half sisters, the reserve said.
Once they are back in the wild it is hoped that many will breed to increase the population.
All 15 have been taken to a rehabilitation centre on the island of East Java, built by the Aspinall Foundation.
They will remain there for up to two months, undergoing medical checks to ensure that they do not carry any diseases from captivity to the rainforests.
Then they will then be moved into an open topped enclosure pre-release centre, where they start to familiarise themselves with life in their native homelands.
Keepers will monitor them to ensure a smooth transition from captivity to freedom.
The release date is next spring where they will join 56 other Javan langurs who have already been let out into the wild.
Video credit: Aspinall Foundation
Once back in their ancestral homelands the langurs, each weighing around seven kilograms and growing up to 87 centimetres in height, will live mainly in the treetops feeding off the greenery of the rainforest.
Damian Aspinall, chairman of the Aspinall Foundation, said: “This work in Indonesia is crucial to the survival of a species which faces annihilation and extinction in the wild within 20 years, unless proper conservation action is taken.
“That means, wherever possible, returning captive bred langurs to the wild.
“It also means confiscating, rehabilitating and returning to the wild wherever possible, illegally held pets from this and other species.
“We are delighted that Beauval zoo has decided to send two of its langurs back with our group.
“We believe it is a clear sign that others in the zoo and wildlife park business are coming around to our way of thinking, that returning wild animals to the wild can be an important conservation tool.”
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