The white-handed gibbon is one of the 16 to 17 gibbon species in the Hylobatidae family. With a glimpse, most people, though that gibbons are monkeys. It is a misjudgment. They are apes. Follow us to learn how to differentiate apes and monkeys. Now, let us see why they are an acrobatic expert.
An acrobatic expert?
Compared to other apes, they are smaller in size. A fully grown adult is in between 42 to 58.3 cm and weight in between 13.2 to 19.8 kg. They also have a very long arms, which is longer than their legs. This powerful, agile, long arms, along with their small and light body, make him an acrobatic expert, brachiating from tree to tree without a sweat.
Their long and agile arms and legs allow them to cover a great distance, nearly 10 feet, with each pendulum swing of its body. They can move across the jungle in the speed of approximately 56 km/hour. Their single swinging jump can help them to cross a gap as big as 15.2 m.
Are they really white?
Their name “white-handed” gibbon always creating a misunderstanding that they are really white in color. In fact, their skin is black. Only their fur around its face, hands and feet are white, and are uniformly colored. However, their fur color may also vary between individual. They can be creamy white, red, brown or almost black. Black or blonde are usually observed in males.
Are they always on the tree?
The white-handed gibbon lives high up in the canopy of trees. We know they are expert at traveling on the tree. Nevertheless, they do move on the ground too. Like human, they are bipedal. It means that they walk upright with their hind legs. On the ground, they walk with arms held high for balance.
Can we still find them in the wild?
Yes, you still can find them in tropical and subtropical forest of Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and northern Sumatra. If you heard their “gibbon song”, they may be not more than 1 km away.
Yet, the chances for you to find them in the wild could be low. Their population is decreasing to the level it was categorised as endangered species under the IUCN Red List. The population of white-handed gibbon is jeopardized due to habitat loss, poaching and pet trading.