Hainan black-crested gibbon

The population range used to cover half of China in the 17th century; currently, under grave threat of extinction

The population range used to cover half of China in the 17th century; currently, under grave threat of extinction

Population 30
99.4% population decline in the past 70 years

A species teetering on the brink of extinction that calls the lush forests of Hainan Island in China its home. This creature is not just another primate; it represents a tale of survival and the urgent need for conservation efforts in our rapidly changing world. With its status classified as Critically Endangered, the Hainan black-crested gibbon’s plight is a clarion call for increased awareness and action to safeguard its existence.

Historically, the Hainan black-crested gibbon was considered a subspecies of the eastern black-crested gibbon. However, advances in scientific research, particularly in molecular genetics and comparative morphology, have illuminated significant differences between the two. These findings have led to the recognition of the Hainan black-crested gibbon as a distinct species, underlining the importance of its conservation. This distinction emphasizes the unique evolutionary path and ecological role the Hainan black-crested gibbon plays within its environment.

The physical appearance of these gibbons is captivating. Males boast a predominantly black coat, with some exhibiting striking white or buff-colored cheeks that contrast sharply with their dark fur. Females, on the other hand, present a beautiful buff or golden hue interspersed with black patches. A distinctive black streak adorns their heads, adding to their unique aesthetic. Both sexes are characterized by their long, slender arms and legs, adaptations that enable them to move with grace and agility through the forest canopy. Notably, they lack tails, which sets them apart from other primate species.

The primary threat facing the Hainan black-crested gibbon is habitat loss, a consequence of human activities such as deforestation, agricultural expansion, and urbanization. These activities have reduced the gibbons’ living space and fragmented their habitat, making it increasingly difficult for them to find food, mates, and shelter. As a result, these gibbons have been forced to retreat to less hospitable environments at higher altitudes, where harsher conditions and reduced food availability compound survival challenges.


Population est.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No