Symphalangus – Siamang

The largest gibbon

Siamang is the largest and most vocal member of the gibbon family, residing predominantly in the rainforests of Sumatra, Malaysia, and Thailand. These captivating primates are distinguished by their impressive size, distinctive vocalizations, and unique physical characteristics, making them an integral part of the biodiversity in their native habitats.

These primates are easily recognizable by their long, shaggy black fur covering most of their bodies, except for a distinct gray area around their chin and mouth, setting them apart from other gibbons. An extraordinary feature of siamangs is their throat sac, which can inflate to the size of their head, enabling their resonant, booming calls that can be heard up to 2 miles away in the dense forest. This vocal ability is crucial in territorial defense and communication between family members.

Their long and strong arms support their arboreal lifestyle, allowing them to brachiate or swing from branch to branch with remarkable grace and agility. This locomotion mode is efficient and conserves energy as they traverse the high canopy in search of food.

Siamangs are primarily frugivorous, with fruits making up the bulk of their diet, supplemented by leaves, flowers, and occasionally insects. Their preference for high-energy fruits contributes to their role as seed dispersers, aiding in the regeneration of their forest habitats.

Human activities increasingly threaten the survival of Siamang. The loss and fragmentation of their forest habitats due to road development, logging, and conversion to agriculture have significantly reduced their living spaces. Additionally, the illegal pet trade poses a direct threat to Siamang populations, with infants often being targeted. Poachers frequently kill the protective mothers to capture the young, a practice that not only reduces population numbers but also disrupts the social structure of siamang groups.