|White-handed gibbon in a rare spot: on the ground|
|Lar gibbon in the trees|
These are white-handed gibbons, also called lar gibbons. These cute primates can be found in Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Northern Sumatra and Malaysia, primarily in tropical rainforests.
|Close-up of a gibbon's hand|
|Lar gibbon mated pair|
|Gibbon enjoying some fresh fruit|
Gibbons are mainly frugivores; [sometimes they will eat insects and eggs and very rarely young birds, but] most of their diet is fresh fruit. How does this help the survival of their ecosystem? They are excellent “seed dispersers” because seeds get stuck to their fur as they fly about the forest, or excreted in their scat. Gibbons especially love fig trees, relying on them for food and shelter as they produce fruit year-round.
|"Darwin" at the sanctuary|
Because the gibbons live predominantly in the canopy of the rainforests and disperse seeds, they help ensure the survival of their ecosystem and the many other species who live there in the event that, for example, something catastrophic happens to the bird population.
The next animal we will visit is what is known as an “apex predator”—meaning top of the food chain—and it would probably be very happy indeed to find gibbons walking on the ground in the wild a lot more often than they do! [Let’s go see the Sumatran tiger.]
So that's it. I think it should go well. One thing that scares me a bit: I've done a lot of research for this one three-minute talk. When I lead a tour, I will have two hours to fill. There is still a lot of learning to come!