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Lar gibbon
Hylobates lar


CITES: Appendix I (What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: H. lar, H. lar carpenteri, H. lar lar, H. lar vestitus: EN; H. lar entelloides: VU; H. lar yunnanensis: DD (What is Red List?)
Key: EN = Endangered, EN = Endangered, EN = Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable, DD = Data deficient
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)

Hylobates lar
Photo: Andrew Johns

In general, reintroduction of gibbons has not met with widespread success. Hopefully however, improved reintroduction methods may increase the success rate of rehabilitation and reintroduction of lar gibbons (Harding 1998). Further, the lar gibbon populations in China, sometimes classified as H. l. yunnanensis, appear to be extinct in the nation (Geissmann 2008). The Khao Yai national park, a site of long-term studies of lar gibbons, is part of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Forest (


Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation

Habitat loss due to a number of different threats endangers gibbons in general, including lar gibbons (Bartlett 2009). Lar gibbon habitats are threatened by forest clearance for the construction of roads (even in reserves and especially for a network in northern Sumatra), shifting agriculture, nature tourism, domestic cattle and elephants, annual forest fires, subsistence tree cutting, illegal logging, new village settlement, and for palm oil plantations (Yimkao & Srikosamatara 2006; Geissmann 2007). Habitat destruction due to logging and agriculture is a serious problem in Myanmar, while Thai forest loss is mainly attributable to illegal logging and encroachment (Nwe et al. 2005; Eudey 1994). Commercial development, even within protected areas, is starting to become a problem and may threaten lar gibbons as well (Bartlett 2009). In Sumatra, road building and paving has increased illegal farming and settlements, even within protected areas (Palombit 1992).

Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)

Hunting for food is also a major threat to lar gibbon populations, partially due to the fact that the species is relatively easy to hunt (Yimkao & Srikosamatara 2006; Geissmann 2007). In Myanmar for example, primates, including lar gibbons, are hunted with blowguns, firearms, and dogs. Lar gibbons taken from such hunts are consumed for food, used for medicine, or exported (Nwe et al. 2005). In Thailand, the decrease in forest cover has seen has increased hunting (Eudey 1994). Lar gibbons have traditionally been subsistence hunted by hill tribes in Thailand (Eudey 1991-1992). In Sumatra, some locals have a religious prohibition against hunting lar gibbons or primates in general (Palombit 1992). However, taboos against hunting gibbons in some habitats appear to be breaking down (Yimkao & Srikosamatara 2006).

Lar gibbons are also collected as pets, a practice that impacts wild populations (Geissmann 2007). In fact, they are considered to be appealing as pets because they can be quite tame in captivity (Eudey 1991-1992). In Thailand, for example, lar gibbons are often kept as pets in both rural and urban areas and are sometimes found in animal markets for sale (Eudey 1991-1992; 1994). As infant lar gibbons are preferred as pets, often the mother is shot and killed to gain access to the infant, severely affecting the population dynamics of the species (Eudey 1991-1992; 1994).





Content last modified: November 17, 2010

Written by Kurt Gron. Reviewed by Alan Mootnick.

Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2010 November 17. Primate Factsheets: Lar gibbon (Hylobates lar) Conservation . <>. Accessed 2014 April 20.