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Gibbons (Endangered Species)


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Gibbons (Endangered Species)

Over the last 50 years, human encroachment on the wilderness has destroyed a large number of natural habitats. Tucked away in the remote tropical rainforests of Asia, gibbons have seen human activity arrive on their doorstep.

For a long time, gibbons were victims of hunters who trapped them for their meat and fur. Combined with hunting, deforestation also greatly contributed to their population decline. Today, poaching continues to be rife in many parts of Asia, and gibbons are increasingly losing their natural habitat.

In 50 years, Indonesia, home to the world’s largest number of gibbon species, has seen 50% of its forested land disappear. Every minute, the equivalent of two football fields of forest is destroyed. If this trend continues, Indonesia’s rainforests will disappear entirely in just over twenty years. Consequently, the future of gibbons and of all biodiversity is threatened.

A combination of factors have led to this massive deforestation, ranging from construction of road networks to development of agricultural lands. The production of palm oil, used among other things to manufacture cosmetics and biofuels, contributes greatly to the destruction of the forests.

Reserves and national parks do not adequately protect gibbons, and anti-poaching laws are rarely enforced. Gibbons also fall victim to animal traffickers, who readily kill adult gibbons in order to capture their young, highly sought-after as family pets.

The wider gibbon family includes 11 species, all of which are protected. The white-handed gibbon population is estimated at 80,000 individuals, while others, such as the silvery gibbon and Kloss’s gibbon, have a population in the range of 400 individuals. Today, all gibbon species are considered endangered.

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