Jahoo is a community-owned ecotourism enterprise providing wildlife-friendly employment, motivating community-led conservation, and supporting sustainable social improvements with the endangered southern yellow-cheeked crested gibbon as its flagship species.
Jahoo is an integral component of the overall protected area conservation strategy, aiming to raise the value of living forests and wildlife to communities living within KSWS and motivate action and long-term conservation.
Gibbons are very difficult to view in the wild, but a habituation program supported by conservation experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has encouraged one very special group of gibbons to be less fearful of humans for the purposes of ecotourism and research.
Gibbons are little understood, despite being apes and genetically alike to humans (96% of the genome is like that of humans). Habituation and subsequent research have resulted in important scientific behavioural and ecological discoveries that contribute to gibbon conservation action throughout their range.
Ecotourism provides alternative jobs to Bunong youth who might otherwise be tempted to look for income from illegal logging or hunting – both of which have had devasting impacts on the region’s forest and wildlife.
Tour fees from Jahoo contribute to the Gibbon Fund, managed by the local community leadership, the Gibbon Fund has supported improvements in education, cultural events, indigenous land protection, and wildlife conservation patrols.
Researchers and tourists have enjoyed watching the habituated gibbon family thrive, growing from 4 to 8 members, an unusually large family for gibbons.
Conservation monitoring by WCS has demonstrated that the gibbon population in the area is stable and remains a globally important conservation hotspot for the species.
The site has served as a basecamp for novel scientific discoveries that have contributed to a better understanding of gibbons, including key findings on habitat use, home range, diet and social structure.
Over 90% of ecotourism revenue from Jahoo is spent within the local community and is directly linked to the continued conservation of gibbons.
Tourism fees support the Gibbon Fund, which has empowered indigenous leadership with the necessary resources to take conservation action and make social improvements in their community.