The Lar Gibbon (Hylobates lar), also known as the White-handed Gibbon, is a primate in the Hylobatidae or gibbon family. It is one of the more well-known gibbons and is often seen in zoos.
The range of the Lar Gibbon historically extended from southwest China
and eastern Myanmar
down the whole Malay Peninsula
. It is also present in the northwest portion of the island of Sumatra
. In recent decades, especially the continental range has been reduced and fragmented, and the animals are extinct
The fur coloring of the Lar Gibbon varies from black and dark-brown to light brown sandy colors. The hands and feet are white colored, likewise a ring of white hair surrounds the black face. Both males and females can have all color variants, and the sexes also hardly differ in size. As is the case for all gibbons, they have long hands and no tail.
The diet of the Lar Gibbon is mainly fruits
, but it will also eat buds
Lar Gibbons are diurnal
, inhabiting rain forests. They rarely come on ground, but they use their long arms to brachiate
through the trees. With their hooked hands they can move swiftly with great momentum, swinging from the branches. Traditionally thought to form lifelong monogamous pairings, long-term studies conducted in Khao Yai National Park
in Thailand suggest that their mating system is somewhat flexible, incorporating extra-pair copulations, partner changes and polyandrous
groupings. The family groups inhabit a firm territory, which they protect by warding off other gibbons with their calls.
Sexually they are similar to other gibbons. Gestation is seven months long and pregnancies are usually of a single young. Young are nursed for approximately two years, and full maturity comes at about 8 years. The life expectancy of the Lar Gibbons in the wild is about 25 years.
Lar Gibbons are threatened in various ways: they are sometimes hunted for their meat, sometimes a parent is killed in order to capture young animals for pets. The largest danger, however, is the loss of habitat. With breathtaking speed the forests of Southeast Asia
are cut down in order to establish plantations, fields and settlements. National parks and protected areas exist, but are often poorly supervised.
There are five subspecies of Lar Gibbon: