Who are we ?

The story of kalaweit

The Kalaweit organisation was created by Chanee, a French man passionate about gibbons since he was a teenager.
Chanee, Founder and President of Kalaweit.

In 1998, aged 18, he left for Indonesia with the support of actress Muriel Robin, who financed his trip. He wanted to devote his life to the protection of the gibbons he knew to be threatened by the disappearance of the forests.

Once there, he realised that deforestation exceeded what he had imagined and the serious threat it posed to wildlife, especially gibbons. Living in the trees, they are the first to be affected if the forest disappears.

He then created a first care center in Borneo (Kalimantan), to collect the gibbons rescued from trafficking as there was no infrastructure, then, to receive these animals. In 2003, he opened a second health center on the island of Sumatra and created the Kalaweit FM radio station which broadcasts in Borneo to a young audience.

Since 2012, the organisation has been working with partner villages to protect their forests, which are growing in size every year. This helps protect wild animals from deforestation and trafficking.

Kalaweit means “gibbon” in Dayak, the majority ethnic group of the island of Borneo.

The organisation supports biodiversity in general but remains, today, the largest project in the world that saves gibbons.

In Indonesia, forests are destroyed because of mining and logging, but especially for the production of palm oil. Young gibbons are captured and become pets but, at around 7 years of age, they reach sexual maturity, become aggressive and are killed. When the young are captured, the parents are often killed.

Muriel Robin is the organisation’s patron.

Thousands of animals have been rescued by Kalaweit: gibbons and siamangs but also bears, macaques, crocodiles, binturongs, reptiles, birds, etc.

Most, other than gibbons and siamangs, have been released. A large number of gibbons and siamangs, which are much harder to release (territorial, fragile, etc.),  will not be able to return to the wild and will remain at Kalaweit.

Our missions

More than 6,000 gibbons are thought to be illegally kept in captivity on the islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Java alone. Kalaweit cannot rescue them all.

Through its tireless efforts in the field, the association can succeed in giving at least some of these gibbons and other animals a much better life. In certain cases even offer them a future within protected forest zones.

Giving a second chance to animal victims of trafficking

Most of the time, animals are kept in unsuitable conditions: cramped cages, stressful environments, with nutritional deficiencies, an absence of stimuli and companions … Under these conditions, their life expectancy is often short. If they survive, they are unfortunately often killed by their owner at the age of sexual maturity, around 6/7 years old, because they have become unmanageable.

For some, the long process of re-adaptation to the wild life is possible. For example, animals that do not carry human diseases must be selected to avoid contaminating populations of wild gibbons.

Many of the gibbons collected carry diseases such as herpes simplex and hepatitis which makes it  impossible to release them.

Helping local communities to protect their forests

It is the creation of protected areas in the municipalities of the partner villages that will make it possible to safeguard wildlife.

Awareness of the need to protect the environment is increasing, particularly among people who live close to the forests and see these being destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations. Other industrial activities, such as coal mining, gold mining, diamond mining, etc. are exacerbating this deforestation.

Faced with this destruction, Kalaweit works with local communities to protect their forests.

Raising awareness among indonesians of the need to respect wildlife – Kalaweit FM

A future for biodiversity and for the gibbons will be possible if the younger generation realises the importance of preserving the environment.

So, in 2003, Kalaweit created the Kalaweit FM radio station which broadcasts in Borneo. Its’ programs are for young people (music, games …). Short messages with an environmental theme are broadcast every hour, making it possible to raise awareness in a population that Kalaweit would not have been able to reach, otherwise.

The audience call in to inform us about any animals kept illegally or in distress. This radio station has become very popular and is a great communication tool: more than 65% of the animals collected were thanks to the reports from listeners.

Listen to the radio by clicking here:  Kalaweit FM

Raising awareness in the general public is also achieved by communicating through social networks and other media (press, radio, TV, internet).

The good relationships that Kalaweit has developed with the local populations and partners has allowed us to spread our message in favor of biodiversity.

Integrating the local populations and the authorities

Involving the local populations and the authorities in implementation of the project is crucial. Hiring local people creates a link and a closer relationship with the villagers, encouraging them to take an interest in protecting their forest and its fauna. Kalaweit provides medical care for free to the employees and their family.

Involving the authorities in the project is also fundamental. The fight against poachers or against illegal logging is conducted in cooperation with the Indonesian police, who thereby openly support the work of the association.

Kalaweit refuses to:

  • Subject animals to euthanasia in the context of population management. Euthanasia can be performed only as a last resort in the case of a dying animal or an animal suffering constant pain or distress.
  • Buy or sell wild animals.
  • Buy or sell wild animal parts.
  • To sterilise animals by castration. Sterilisation (vasectomy) will always be chosen.
  • Dispatch an animal to a zoo or any other establishment.
  • Conduct any activity causing suffering of an animal.
  • Conduct any activity that is against the laws in force.

Our team

In France

Board of directors:

Chanee: President and Founder of Kalaweit
Jean-Marc Bouve: treasurer
Carine Le Thanh: secretary

And :

Constance Cluset: in charge of Kalaweit France

In Indonesia

75 employees work for Kalaweit including the vets, technicians, cooks, wardens and accountants, all play a crucial role and enable Kalaweit to exists.

In Indonesia

In Europe France / Belgium / Switzerland

Annual budget

Expenses 2021€ / yearDistribution
Wages and payroll charges (75 employees)245 40733,68 %
Food & cares for animals 110 83715,22 %
Running costs France83 72011,50 %
Servicing of infrastructures70 5669,68 %
Transport and logistics62 9068,63 %
Running costs Indonesia14 8732,04 %
Purchase of forests140 24419,25 %
Total728 553100 %

General assembly

Here are the report or our last Annual General Assembly. It contains the financial and moral reports of Kalaweit France and Yayasan Kalaweit Indonesia for each year (reports in french).