Gibbons are great apes. There. We’ve said it. The purists may pooh-pooh the idea, but ours isn’t a scientific definition. These so-called lesser apes may not officially rank alongside the big guns of the primate world, but in their own inimitable way they are just as charismatic and characterful as the gorillas, chimpanzees and orang-utans that have had greatness thrust upon them. Many are also critically endangered, including the cao vit gibbon.
Also known as the eastern black crested gibbon, this relatively unfamiliar ape is one of the rarest primates in the world, but that precarious position is a marked improvement on its apparent status a mere two decades ago. Until it was rediscovered by scientists from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in 2002, the cao vit gibbon was presumed to be extinct. Today, the entire world population is clinging to survival by its hooked fingertips in a small, fragmented forest on the border between Vietnam and China.