Western hoolock gibbon

The only ape species present in India

Vijay Cavale

Western Hoolock gibbons live in India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar’s tropical forests.

Long arms and abundant hair distinguish these tailless apes. Males have a white eyebrow-like line above their eyes and weigh 6.9 kg (15.2 pounds). Females are beige, brown, gray, or yellow and weigh 6 kg (13.2 pounds).

Western Hoolock Gibbons make powerful, melodious sounds throughout the forest. Males and females sing duets to identify their territory. Male-female gibbon vocalizations are identical and comprise alternating high and low notes that ring quickly and accelerate with every call.

IUCN expects Western Hoolock gibbon numbers to decrease in three generations. The existence of this species is threatened by hunting for food, medicine, and habitat loss.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Bangladesh
200-300
EN
2017
China
2017
Presence Uncertain
India
2,600
EN
2017
Assam
Myanmar
2017

Did you know?

  • Are you having a bad day? At least you’re not threatened by a deadly combination of habitat loss by humans, forest destruction for tea cultivation, jumping (slash-and-burn cultivation), hunting for food and “medicine,” forest degradation, and capture for trade.
  • Since the 1980s, western hoolock gibbon numbers are estimated to have dropped from approx. 100,000 to less than 5,000 individuals. In 2009 it was considered to be one of the 25 most endangered primates, though it later made it out of the list.
  • Assessed as Endangered (IUCN 2017), this important seed is dispersed and lives in the canopy of evergreen forests. Pairs produce a loud, elaborate song, usually as a duet from the forest canopy.

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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