Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021



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

A beautiful, captivating primate the White-handed Gibbon, or 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.

The White-handed Gibbon ranges from southern China, Burma, 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