When people think about apes in the connection with Sumatra, they will mainly picture the charismatic orangutans that are capturing international attention as well as conservation efforts. The attention for these two species (Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans) is much needed as these great apes face the imminent risk of extinction and are listed as critically endangered due to habitat loss and the illegal trade. But with the main public interest and conservation focus being on orangutans, other apes of Sumatra have received much less attention – like gibbons. There are three species of gibbon in Sumatra and all are classified as endangered. These are the largest of all gibbon species – the siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), the lar or white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar), and the agile gibbon (Hylobates agilis). The siamang occurs throughout Sumatra, while H. lar only inhabits forests  in the north and H. agilis is in forests south of Lake Toba, with a convergence zone around Toba. Exact population numbers for all species are largely unknown. Gibbons are classified as “small apes,” yet they certainly are no less special than “great apes.” They effortlessly brachiate (swing) through the forest canopy, and every species has a distinct song that ignites the jungle in the early morning hours. The first time I came to the Sumatran rainforest in May 2019 for an expedition, I was awakened at 6am every morning by the melodious duetting of agile gibbons. Siamangs are accomplished singers. Photo by Kevin Schofield, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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