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Animal Info - Black Gibbon

(Other Names: 黑长臂猿, Black-crested, Concolor, Crested, Gibo-preto, Indochinese or Western Black-crested Gibbon; Gibbon Favoris Blancs; Gibbon Noir)

Nomascus concolor (Hylobates c.)

Status: Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Gestation Period, Birth Rate, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization, Density and Range)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Black Gibbon #1 (22 Kb JPEG); Black Gibbon #2 (10 Kb JPEG) (Sci. Mus. China); Black Gibbon #3 (39 Kb JPEG) (Arkive)

The black gibbon is a small arboreal ape weighing about 8 kg (18 lb). It prefers subtropical and montane evergreen forests and eats mainly leaf buds, shoots, and fruits. Gibbons are mainly diurnal.

A single young is usually born to a mature female black gibbon every 2 - 3 years. The black gibbon is the only polygynous gibbon species. Other gibbons are monogamous. The average size of black gibbon troops is about half a dozen individuals, which includes one adult male, one or more adult females and several young gibbons of various ages.

The black gibbon was once widespread in forests throughout southern China and Vietnam and into Laos and Cambodia. In 1990 the only area where black gibbon populations were reported to be healthy was in Yunnan Province, China, with other populations in Laos and Vietnam having uncertain status (Bleisch & Nan 1990). In 2000 it was believed to occur in China, Laos and Vietnam (IUCN 2000). The black gibbon is threatened by loss of its preferred primary forest habitat, as well as by hunting for food and Oriental medicine. Extensive military activities within its range probably also had a detrimental effect.


Tidbits

*** Chinese hunters consider gibbon meat to be delicious, and rural Chinese believe that gibbon bones provide an effective treatment for rheumatism.

*** A striking trait of all concolor gibbons is sexual dichromatism. The newborn's coat becomes a shiny black at about 1 year of age. Males keep this coat color throughout life, whereas the black-haired infant female becomes a bright golden yellow or light yellow color at or around sexual maturity. (Ma et al. 1988)


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Black Gibbon Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in China (Yunnan), Laos and Vietnam. (IUCN 2004)

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

[Note: Tracing the history of gibbon species is complicated by changes in their taxonomy.]

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The black gibbon is threatened by loss of its preferred primary forest habitat, as well as hunting for food and Oriental medicine. Extensive military activities within its range probably also had a detrimental effect. (Le Xuan Canh 1996)


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The black gibbon weighs about 8 kg (6.9 - 10 kg) (18 lb (15.2 - 22 lb)). Its head and body length is about 50 cm (43 - 54 cm) (20" (17 - 21")). (Ma et al. 1988)

Habitat:

The black gibbon prefers subtropical and montane evergreen forests. 

The black gibbon is one of the species that live in both the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.) and the Northern Indochina Subtropical Moist Forests, Annamite Range Moist Forests, and Eastern Indochina Dry & Monsoon Forests Global 200 Ecoregions. (Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999)

Gestation Period:

7 - 8 months.

Birth Rate:

A single young is usually born. The time between birth is usually 2 - 3 years.

Diet:

The black gibbon eats mainly leaf buds, shoots, and fruits, but rarely animals (Burnie & Wilson 2001).

Behavior:

All gibbons are strictly arboreal and mainly diurnal.

Social Organization:

The black gibbon lives in groups - usually a female, a male and their young (Burnie & Wilson 2001).  It is the only polygynous gibbon species. All others are monogamous (Haimoff et al. 1987).

Group size:

Density and Range:

Estimated densities of black gibbon troops in different habitat based on field studies (Bleisch & Nan 1990):

  • Areas where deforestation had destroyed the closed canopy forest: 0 groups/sq km
  • Areas where closed canopy forest was open to disturbance such as hunting: 0.2 groups/sq km (0.5 groups/sq mi)
  • Areas with good habitat but recovering from past disturbance: 1.9 groups/sq km (4.9 groups/sq mi)
  • Areas of undisturbed forest: 1.3 groups/sq km (3.4 groups/sq mi)


Based on the amount of area covered by each habitat type, an overall density was then estimated of 0.20 - 0.66 groups/sq km (0.5 - 1.7 groups/sq mi) (350 - 1100 groups in 1670 sq km (640 sq mi) of natural protected areas in China). Using their estimate of 5 individuals/group gives an overall density of 1 - 3.3 individuals/sq km (2.6 - 8.6 individuals/sq mi).


References

Arkive, Bleisch & Nan 1990, Burnie & Wilson 2001, Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl., Fauna & Flora 2003, Haimoff et al. 1987, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, Le Xuan Canh 1996, Ma et al. 1988, Macdonald 1984, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999, Schuhmacher 1967, Sci. Mus. China, Zhang 1998 


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Last modified: May 29, 2005;

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