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Hainan Gibbon

East Asia

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Nomascus hainanus

Endangered

  • Growth of non-timber crops
  • Hunting & Trapping
  • Logging & Wood Harvesting

The Hainan Gibbon, also called Hainan Black-Crested Gibbon, is an endemic primate species on its namesake island in China. Previously, its classification falls as a subspecies of the Eastern Black Crested Gibbon. Through continuous and careful study of its molecular data as well as call differences and morphology, it was later declared as a distinct species. Like all other 19 gibbon species, the Hainan Gibbon is considered as part of the ape family which are tailless creatures as opposed to those that belong to the monkey family. Being arboreal, it inhabits exclusively on treetops so its usual diet consists of leaves, fruits, flowers as well as insects and bird eggs found within the vicinity.

This primate in peril has got serious threats for the survival of its population – from habitat destruction and fragmentation to hunting, encroachment of urban and modern infrastructure, and inbreeding. Human population boom within its surrounding areas means less natural habitat for the Hainan Gibbon to stay. It forces them to do any of the following: split with other members of its group, move in a less favourable environment, or be at risk of being hunted or killed by humans.

This affects their normal reproductive rate which leads to significant decline in genetic diversity. And because mating between relatives is the only option left, the surviving baby gibbons are more prone to diseases and low lifespan. Human traps abound either to sell off its meat to markets and restaurants or to pet traders who keep them for recreation purposes. And because Hainan Gibbons tend to congregate by family, there is a potential destruction of the species in the case of natural disasters or harmful pollutants within its immediate vicinity.