Gibbons live in the tropical rainforests of southeast Asia and are a member of the ape family. There are 19 different species of Gibbons, all of which are on the verge of extinction owing to palm oil harvesting, logging and the illegal wildlife trade. The different species of Gibbons can be divided up into 4 genera (a form of biological classification which is above species but below families) including Hoolock, Hylobates, Nomascus and Symphalangus.
The scientific name of the Gibbon is Hylobatidae. Gibbons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Their diet consists of fruit, figs and leaves as well as insects on occasion. Gibbons weigh anywhere from 9 – 29 pounds and stand 17 -25 inches tall depending on the species. In the wild, Gibbons can live an average of 25 to 30 years of age. The average gestation period for a female Gibbon is around 7 months.
Gibbons often pair up, occasionally forming lifelong relationships. This is rare among primates. Gibbons live in small family groups. Each group contains 2 – 6 members and consists of the adult couple and their offspring. Female Gibbons remain in their initial family for about 8.5 years and males for up to 10 years before leaving to begin a family of their own. Gibbons communicate by singing. When singing, a Gibbon can be heard for up to 2 miles in the densely covered rainforests.
There are many ways in which we can help to ensure the survival of this incredible ape. We can start by purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil (look for the RSPO certification on the label), you can donate to a reputable conservation organization such as the Gibbon Conservation Center, you can symbolically adopt a Gibbon and you can raise awareness by sharing this article.