Crested gibbons of South East Asia face imminent extinction

A gathering of the world’s gibbon experts, led by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), has declared a call to action to save the crested gibbons of South East Asia during the XXIII Congress of the International Primatological Society.

“The crested gibbons are the most threatened group of primates and all species require urgent attention to save them from extinction”

Thomas Geissmann, the world-renowned gibbon expert from Zurich University and FFI gibbon advisor.

All seven species of crested gibbons are highly threatened and some are among the world’s most endangered mammals.

The plight of crested gibbons is exemplified by the world’s rarest ape, the Hainan gibbon. There are about 20 individuals remaining in two family groups on China’s Hainan Island.

The Hainan gibbon’s closest relative is the cao vit gibbon, which survives in a patch of forest on the Vietnam – China border and numbers not much more than 100 individuals.

“Current efforts by FFI appear to be turning round the fortune of the cao vit gibbon at the eleventh hour,“ said Paul Insua-Cao, FFI China-Indochina Primate Programme Manager.

“FFI has been championing conservation of several of the world’s rarest gibbon species for more than a decade. The organisation is working with local communities and government authorities across the range states of these gibbons to protect them and their habitat”.

The efforts of FFI and other like-minded organisations will need continuous investment and support for the foreseeable future to ensure the gibbons’ survival.

FFI’s China Programme is publicising its work through the production of materials such as these 2011 calendars.

Photo credits: Bill Bleisch / FFI China Programme

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