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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024



White-handed Gibbon

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Family : Hylobatidae
Species : Hylobates lar

Head-body length : 40-50 cm
Tail length : no tail
Weight : 5-6 kg

Play call

Hylobates lar (White-handed Gibbon, Lar Gibbon) is a master of agility. Its long arms are perfectly suited to swinging from branch to branch, a form of locomotion called 'brachiation', through Southeast Asia's rainforests. Though it lacks a tail, its sense of balance is acute and it is equally capable of walking on its hind legs along branches high above the ground.

Its unmistakable call - a loud, whooping sound - can be heard from a great distance, especially when active in the morning. Its colour varies from dark brown to brownish-orange to cream, and its diet comprises mainly young shoots, leaves and fruits.

A shocking trade in young gibbons is rampant in some countries, particularly Thailand. The young are captured by first shooting the mother, and then stealing the young.

Hylobates lar ranges from southern China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos to Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra.

Figs 1 and 2 : Adult specimen
warming itself in the morning sun.

Fig 3 : Feeding on young leaves at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.

Fig 4 : Sub-adult at Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket, Thailand.

Fig 5 : A muscular adult brachiates through the forest canopy in Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 6 : Adult with cream-coloured juvenile at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.  Photo thanks to Ngo Kang Min.

References : M3

Link : Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket.

Fig 6
ゥ  Ngo Kang Min