IUCN National Conservation Action Plan for Small Apes in Malaysia



Small apes are charismatic megafauna and play a crucial role in maintaining Malaysian forests through their ecological role as keystone seed dispersers. The IUCN lists all five Malaysian species as Endangered (A2cd) due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation and hunting. Small apes are frugivores that are dependent on the closed-canopy forest for their diets and locomotion, and are strictly territorial, so they are particularly vulnerable to forest fragmentation. Unfortunately, due to rapid economic development, Malaysia’s forests are being lost at an alarming rate. Each Malaysian species is estimated to have lost more than 50% of their original habitat in the last 50 years, with much of the remaining habitat fragmented and degraded.


Together making small apes a national priority

The action plan is supported by IUCN 

and The Habitat Foundation, with participation from knowledge holders represented by government agencies, NGOs, universities and many more.

    1. Promote small ape conservation as a national conservation priority.
    2. Promote the development and use of innovative methods for small ape research, monitoring, and conservation.
    3. Promote the effective integration of in situ and ex situ small ape conservation in Malaysia.
    1. Focus attention on the ecological importance of small apes in Southeast Asian forests and to the unique ecological requirements and conservation needs of small apes.
    2. Assess the current distribution and abundance of small apes in Malaysia.
    3. Develop, propose, and prioritize specific recommendations for conservation actions to protect small apes in Malaysia.
    1. Identify knowledge gaps that interfere with the development of effective small ape conservation plans.
    2. Identify conservation challenges and opportunities for small ape conservation in Malaysia.
    1. Enhance communication and collaboration among researchers, community members, non-governmental conservation professionals, and government conservation professionals tasked with the conservation of small apes and their habitats.
    2. Promote and facilitate data sharing among conservation stakeholders.
    3. Develop budget sketches for the proposed actions and identify stakeholders with the capacity to implement recommended actions.



Elaborate a strategy incorporating inputs of key stakeholders and experts to prevent the extinction of any Malaysian small ape species, to ensure their long-term persistence.
Implement conservation actions that promote coexistence between humans and apes and support livelihoods and human rights for local communities.

Increase, share scientific and traditional knowledge required for conservation of small apes for their benefits, the habitats in which they live, and other forest-dependent species.

Promote small apes as flagship species for conservation of arboreal mammals in Malaysia, and as an important part of Malaysian national and world heritage.



22 Sept 2020 Inception Workshop
12 Oct 2020 Action Plan Workshop 1
24 Oct 2020 International Gibbon Day
23 Oct 2020 Facilitator Orientation Workshop