Hoolock – Hoo’ gibbons

Native to Bangladesh, NE India, Myanmar, and SW China

Hoolock gibbons are a significant and charismatic member of the gibbon family. They reside in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, including parts of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China. These arboreal primates are renowned for their distinctive appearance, remarkable vocalizations, and status as the second-largest gibbons.

Hoolock gibbons exhibit a fascinating example of sexual dimorphism, not just in their size but predominantly in their fur coloration. Both males and females can reach up to 90 cm (35 inches) in length and weigh up to 9 kg (20 pounds), making them a formidable presence in the canopy. Females are adorned with grey-brown fur, presenting a stark contrast to the males’ sleek black fur. This distinction is further accentuated by the white markings around their eyes and mouth, which gives their faces a striking mask-like appearance, enhancing their visual communication and recognition among conspecifics.

Despite being primarily herbivorous, hoolock gibbons have a varied diet that primarily includes a wide range of fruits, leaves, and flowers, reflecting their role as key seed dispersers within their ecosystems. This diet is occasionally supplemented with small quantities of insects, providing essential proteins. Their foraging behavior is a testament to their adaptability, as they meticulously search for food across the vast canopy, contributing to the ecological balance of their habitat.

Hoolock gibbons are celebrated for their loud and melodious songs, which serve multiple purposes, including territory defense, mate attraction, and reinforcing pair bonds. These vocalizations can be heard resonating through the forest at dawn, marking the beginning of their day. They typically form monogamous pairs, accompanied by their offspring, emphasizing a strong family unit that navigates the complexities of their arboreal habitat together.

The conservation status of hoolock gibbons is a matter of grave concern, with all member species facing significant threats from habitat destruction due to rampant deforestation and land conversion for agriculture and human settlement.