Posted on 22nd October 2021 by Media Relations
We’re all familiar with Gorillas and Chimpanzees, but do you know much about other ape species? To celebrate World Gibbon Day on 24th October, we are sharing some insights into these lesser known members of the Hominoidea superfamily (this family is made up of humans and all ape species) and how you can help Siamangs – after all, they’re basically our extended family.
Siamangs are an arboreal ape and one of 20 species of Gibbon endemic to South and Southeast Asia. Siamangs are the largest and loudest species of Gibbon, with a large throat sac that can be inflated to the size of their head. When vocalising, the Siamang can produce two different kinds of notes – a deep ‘boom’ and a loud ‘wow’. Siamangs defend their territory with daily singing rituals, and their hooting can be heard more than three kilometres away through dense rainforest.
Siamangs are also highly energetic and known as the acrobats of the forest. They live in the tree tops and use their strong hook-shaped hands to grasp branches and swing between trees. But sadly Siamangs are running out of forest to swing through due to habitat loss and fragmentation from agricultural expansion and illegal mining.
Metals like gold, silver and copper are found in our mobile phones and electronics. The ongoing demand for these metals destroys habitat and increases access, exposing previously untouched wilderness to exploitation and fragmenting forests.
Across the world, e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams. The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 reported an increase in e-waste of 21 per cent from 2014 to 2019. In Australia, there is now as many mobile phones as people, and e-waste is the fastest-growing component of the municipal solid waste stream (Clean Up Australia, 2021).
We can all do our bit to protect Siamangs and their habitat in the wild by recycling our old mobile phones, electronic tablets and their accessories. Taronga’s guest research indicates that 85 per cent of people have at least one old phone or electronic tablet at home that could be recycled. Recycling electronics helps in two ways:
- Metals can be retrieved from the devices and reused, thereby reducing the demand for newly mined metals from forest habitat; and
- Money raised from recycled and refurbished mobile phones supports conservation projects in the wild.
Taronga partners with Mobile Muster and Phone Cycle to collect, recycle and refurbish unwanted phones, tablets and accessories. To date we have recycled more than 56,000 mobile phones, which has generated over $92,000 to support in-situ conservation projects. This recycling also equates to 110 tonnes of mineral resources saved, 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions prevented, and carbon sequestration benefits equal to having planted 570 trees (Mobile Muster calculator, 2021).
This World Gibbon Day they’re calling on you to dig out your old devices and accessories. You can donate them on your next visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo, or arrange a free courier pick up if you have 10+ devices. Thank you for answering their call.