‘Chanee’ on mission to save the gibbon
A CHANCE meeting with a gibbon at a French zoo as a child changed the life of conservationist Aurelien Brule forever.
The 35-year-old Frenchman has since dedicated his life to raising awareness of the plight of the world’s dwindling rainforests and endangered wildlife and he is bringing his experiences from deep inside some of South East Asia’s rainforests to South Perth this week.
Those familiar with Aurelien’s work may know him by his chosen name ‘Chanee’ – the Thai name for gibbons. The name change came about after his first visit to the animal’s natural habitat.
Chanee had his first work about gibbons published at the age of 16 and received the support of famous French actor Muriel Robin, who encouraged him to leave France and follow his passion.
From Thailand, he ventured to Indonesia in 1998 and established Kalaweit – the only gibbon conservation program in that country.
“My focus quickly turned to Indonesia due to the scale of deforestation in that country and its devastating effects on the native wildlife,” he said.
Since then he has made a TV documentary, authored several books and runs a radio program to encourage local residents, particularly in Borneo and Sumatra, to help rescue native animals.
Dedication to the cause has been perilous at times.
“A few times me and my family have been threatened with knives and other weapons, particularly from loggers,” he said.
Chanee says the aim of his visit to Perth is not about big speeches: “We need to act now. Any small victory to reduce logging and protection of wildlife is important.”