This video from India says about itself:
Conservation of the Eastern Hoolock Gibbon
6 June 2011
Now wouldn’t that call make just the perfect mobile ring tone?
In the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh‘s Mehao national park, Wilderness Films India sent a team to film the Hoolock Gibbon in its natural habitat.
The Hoolock gibbon or Uluk, belongs to the ape family. It is only found in the deciduous forests of China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India. The average lifespan of these gibbons is thirty years in captivity. A male Hoolock Gibbon is recognized by his black fur and a white strip above his eyes while the female gibbon is recognized by her pale fur with shades of tan.
The gibbons move around by using their arms. They are mostly found in trees and rarely come onto the ground. Hoolock gibbons are primarily omnivorous and consume various types of plants, insects and birds’ eggs. The various activities of the gibbon during the day include feeding, resting, foraging, travelling with the rest of the troupe. They indulge in other activities such as calling for territorial behavior and play. Territories are defended through disputes usually led by the group’s adult male.
Intergroup encounters occur often and usually consist off vocalisation and counter vocalization with the males chasing one another. Grooming is often seen during the group’s social activities and it serves in the maintenance of social bonds. Mating usually occurs during the summer season with births during the winter.
Gestation occurs for around 6-8 months followed by the birth of an offspring. For the first two months, the infants cling on to their mother’s belly. The infant starts showing signs of independence at the age of 6-8 months. However, the bond is so strong between the mother and child that the infant continues to sleep with the mother until the birth of a new infant. The infants emigrate from their group when they become mature adults.
Out of all the gibbons, the Hoolocks have the most haunting call. The calls of these Gibbons are not sex-specific, a fact that differs them from all other species of gibbons. Calls are usually uttered during long call outs or duels and occur mainly in the morning. Once calling commences, call outs are often responded to by other hoolock gibbons throughout the forest. Functions of calling include the maintenance of the pair bond, mate attractions, defense, mate solicitation, territorial reinforcement and the maintenance of social ties.
Some of the proposed steps for conservation of the gibbons are: restoration of degraded landscapes, combining efforts made by the government industry, NGOs and communities in Northeast India. Increasing and nationalizing existing protected area network and protected area management. It is important to ensure the enforcement of these goals for the protection of this incredible species and to prevent them from disappearing from the surface of the earth.
This video was researched by Saurabh Bhatia of The Shri Ram School, Gurgaon, during a summer internship with WFIL, in May-June 2011.
From the BBC:
‘Star Wars gibbon’ is new primate species
By Rebecca Morelle, Science Correspondent, BBC News
4 hours ago
A gibbon living in the tropical forests of south west China is a new species of primate, scientists have concluded.
The animal has been studied for some time, but new research confirms it is different from all other gibbons.
It has been named the Skywalker hoolock gibbon – partly because the Chinese characters of its scientific name mean “Heaven’s movement” but also because the scientists are fans of Star Wars.
The study is published in the American Journal of Primatology.
Dr Sam Turvey, from the Zoological Society of London, who was part of the team studying the apes, told BBC News: “In this area, so many species have declined or gone extinct because of habitat loss, hunting and general human overpopulation.
“So it’s an absolute privilege to see something as special and as rare as a gibbon in a canopy in a Chinese rainforest, and especially when it turns out that the gibbons are actually a new species previously unrecognised by science.”
Hoolock gibbons are found in Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar. They spend most of their time living in the treetops, swinging through the forests with their forelimbs, rarely spending any time on the ground.
But the research team – led by Fan Peng-Fei from Sun Yat-sen University in China – started to suspect that the animals they were studying in China’s Yunnan Province were unusual.
All hoolock gibbons have white eyebrows and some have white beards – but the Chinese primates’ markings differed in appearance.
Their songs, which they use to bond with other gibbons and to mark out their territory, also had an unusual ring.
So the team carried out a full physical and genetic comparison with other gibbons, which confirmed that the primates were indeed a different species.
They have been given the scientific name of Hoolock tianxing – but their common name is now the Skywalker hoolock gibbon, thanks to the scientists’ taste in films.
Dr Turvey said the team had been studying the animals in the Gaoligongshan nature reserve, but it was not easy.
“It’s difficult to get into the reserve. You have to hike up to above 2,500m to find the gibbons. That’s where the good quality forest usually starts – everywhere below there has been logged.
“Then you have to wake up really early in the morning and you listen out for the haunting song of the gibbons, which carries in the forest canopy.
“And when you hear it, you rush through the mud and the mist, and run for hundreds of metres to try and catch up with these gibbons.”
The researchers estimate that there are about 200 of the Skywalker gibbons living in China – and also some living in neighbouring Myanmar, although the population size there is currently unknown.
The team warns that the primates are at risk of extinction.
“The low number of surviving animals and the threat they face from habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and hunting means we think they should be classified as an endangered species,” said Dr Turvey.
In response to the news, actor Mark Hamill – the original Luke Skywalker – said on Twitter that he was so proud to have a new jungle Jedi named after his character.