Malaysian Lar Gibbon {White-handed Gibbon}

May 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Malaysian Lar Gibbon {White-handed Gibbon}

Malaysian Lar Gibbon (White-handed Gibbon) at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

Gibbons are apes in the family Hylobatidae. Also called lesser apes, there are four genera and 13 species in this family (Hylobates, Hoolock, Nomascus and Symphalangus). They are found in tropical and subtropical rainforests from northeast India, north to southern China and the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java.

Gibbons differ from the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orang-utans and humans) in being smaller and (other than most humans) pair-bonded. They do not make nests and in certain anatomical details, they superficially resemble monkeys. They also sing and can be heard from 1 km away, making them easy targets for poachers.

The gibbons are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals. They are masters of brachiation{*}, swinging from branch to branch for distances of up to 15 m (50 ft), at speeds as high as 56 km/h (35 mph). They can also make leaps of up to 8 m (27 ft), and walk bipedally with their arms raised for balance.

Depending on species and gender, the gibbons’ fur coloration varies from dark to light brown shades, and anywhere in between black and white. It is rare to see a completely white gibbon. They also feature in traditional Chinese culture. {Information is condensed from Wikipedia}

{*}The only true brachiators are the lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs). A gibbon can brachiate at speeds as high as 35 mph (55km/h) and can travel as far as 20 feet (6 m) with each swing. Spider monkeys and orangutans are considered semi -brachiators.


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