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It's International Gibbon Day! Check Out These Magnificent Primates
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:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
By Dipika Kadaba
We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.