Pileated gibbon

Brachiation allows them to leap up to 9 m (29.5 ft) or more, with neither hand touching a branch

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A primate of remarkable beauty and agility that inhabits the dense forests of Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. This species is distinguished not just by its acrobatic prowess in the treetops but also by the striking sexual dimorphism it displays: males and females sport distinctly different fur colors. Males are adorned with sleek, purely black fur, embodying an elegance that is contrasted sharply by the females, whose fur is predominantly white-grey, except for their belly and head, which retain the black coloring. A distinctive feature shared by both sexes is the white, often shaggy, hair ring that frames their face, adding to their charismatic presence.

Pileated gibbons lead a life intricately tied to the canopy of the rainforest. Their daily activities are centered around feeding, socializing, and moving through the vast green expanses of their aerial home. Interestingly, their sleeping habits are closely linked to their feeding behavior. At dusk, these gibbons prefer to rest in trees that are in proximity to the last feeding sites of the day, allowing them easy access to food sources upon waking. Remarkably adaptive in their choice of sleeping locations, they rarely use the same tree more than once, and it is almost unheard of for them to return to the same spot on two consecutive nights. This behavior may reduce the risk of predation and the spread of parasites, indicating a sophisticated level of ecological intelligence.

However, the serene life of the Pileated gibbon is under threat. Hunting, both for meat and for the illegal wildlife trade, poses a significant risk to their survival. These gibbons are hunted for various purposes, including traditional medicine, pets, and even as trophies, which drastically reduces their numbers and disrupts their social structures.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Cambodia
35,000
EN
2015
Laos
2015
Thailand
30,000
EN
2015

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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