Quantcast

It's International Gibbon Day! Check Out These Magnificent Primates

Animals
This gibbon is named after a certain Star Wars hero. Lei Dong

October 24 marks International Gibbon Day, a global celebration of these adorable, singing and acrobatic primates. This day is also important because they are the most endangered of group of apes, according the World Wildlife Fund.

There are 20 different species of gibbons and they are endemic to the tropical and subtropical rainforests of south Asia. This includes the Hainan gibbon—the rarest primate in the world and found only on Hainan Island in China. Their numbers dipped as low as 8 in the 1980s. But through conservation efforts, there are now 27 individuals in the wild, said Wenbo Zhang, who works with Cloud Mountain Conservation, an NGO that focuses on gibbon conservation in China.


Hainan gibbonChao Zhao

In fact, most of these tree-dwellers are listed as endangered or critically endangered due to their rapidly disappearing habitats, as well as poaching and the pet trade.

So what makes these creatures so special? Gibbons are known to be the smallest and fastest of all non-flying arboreal mammals. These apes are intelligent, sing unique songs (some even sing in duets) and use grooming to increase bonding between family members, Zhang told EcoWatch. Most of them are also strictly monogamous and form long-term relationships with their partners.

Last year, a Chinese-led team and experts from the Zoological Society of London discovered an entirely new gibbon species in southwest Asia—the Skywalker hoolock gibbon. Its "Star Wars"-inspired name reflects the gibbon's high treetop home.

Unfortunately, there are less than 150 Skywalkers left in the wild, Zhang said.

"The Skywalker hoolock gibbon … faces the same grave and imminent risk to its survival as many other small ape species in southern China and Southeast Asia due to habitat loss and hunting," Samuel Turvey, a senior research fellow at the Zoological Society of London, said in press release about the species. "Increased awareness of the remarkable ecosystem of the Gaoligong mountains and improved conservation is essential, to ensure we have time to get fully acquainted with this exciting new species before it's too late."

This day is all about raising public awareness about this little-known animal in order to save it from extinction.

Check out these amazing apes below:

Chao Zhao

A female eastern black crested gibbon with offspring.


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less