The Italian Almanac

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white handed gibbon

Confiscated Gibbon

A rare example of a Lar, or White-handed, Gibbon was confiscated from a family home by forestry police in Mantua. The family had kept the gibbon in a cramped cage without reporting the animal to the authorities and is being charged with violating the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Police said they were also considering pressing animal cruelty charges against the gibbon's owners.

The CITES committee of the environment ministry will now decide the fate of the gibbon, whose species is threatened with extinction in its natural habitat of Myanmar, Thailand and the Malay Peninsula because of hunting and deforestation. ''This is a particularly rare animal in the wild that rouses strong interest from a scientific point of view for the conservation of the species,'' said Lombardy forestry corps commander Ugo Mereu. He added that the gibbon was likely to join an international conservation project involved in breeding the animals in captivity.