Happy Valentine’s Day! Love happens in the animal kingdom too, especially amongst species who mate for life! Here’s an incredible love story from a Cambodian forest: Pileated Gibbons Nangali-soka and Karuna, met and fell in love!
Male gibbon Nangali-soka lives in Uddom Srae Puos Forest in Kampong Speu province. He was regularly seen swinging through the trees with his mate, until last year when she passed away. On hearing this sad story, our Director of Wildlife Rescue and Care, Nick Marx wanted to help.
In May, Nangali-soka’s luck changed when female Pileated Gibbon Karuna joined him in the forest. Then something incredible happened! Nangali-soka and Karuna bonded and have been together ever since! The pair have been spotted feeding together and can even be heard singing in the early hours. These distinctively gibbon songs are thought to announce territory and strengthen bonds between family members.
Which other animals mate for life?
There are dozens of animal species which are thought to be monogamous, meaning that they mate for life! In Cambodia these monogamous species are a rarety, with gibbons being one of the few animals who choose to spend their lives with just one significant other. However, gibbons are not the only ones! Off the coast of Cambodia, Critically Endangered Hawksbill Turtles swim the waters of the Gulf of Thailand in search of a mate. Once they find one, there’s no letting go!
A Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) swimming off the shore in Lagún, Curaçao.
So far, Karuna’s soft release into the forest has been successful- as they say, a couple who sing together, stay together! We hope Nangali-soka and Karuna’s love continues and their family grows, so there are more Pileated Gibbons in Uddom Srae Puos Forest!
This true love story was made possible by the Forestry Administration’s Director of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, Mr. Nhek Ratanapich where Karuna previously lived, and the Ministry of Environment who protect Uddom Srae Puos Forest.
Pileated Gibbons are globally Endangered so every one returned to the wild counts! In Cambodia, the species are found mostly in the Cardamom Mountains where Wildlife Alliance – Ministry of Environment rangers patrol to reduce threats to wildlife including Pileated Gibbons.