Lar Gibbon Animals & Plants

About the Lar Gibbon

If you’re looking to see a monkey swinging from branch to branch, then you need to spend some time watching Fota’s Lar Gibbons. The monkey ranges in colour from black, dark brown and a lighter sandy brown - regardless of sex -  with a ring of white hair around its face and has curved fingers, elongated hands (white in appearance), long arms and short legs to help propel it through the forest. Like all apes, it has no tail; instead, it has a tough, bony padding on its buttocks.

 

Habitat

The Lar Gibbon is native to monsoons and evergreen rainforests on islands and mainland of Southeast Asia. It’s also arboreal, spending a vast amount of time high up in the forest canopy.

Wild Notes

Lar Gibbons live in mating pairs - which is unusual among primates - along with young offspring. The species is considered to be frugivorous and has a diet of mainly fruit but also leaves, insects and flowers.

Pairs often sing in the early morning to emphasis their territorial claim, bond and ensure they have sufficient food supplies without the need for conflict with any other neighbour. The male calls out in quivering hoots, while the female tends to emit longer notes.

The species has been known to cover up to three metres in a single swing and can leap distances of up to nine metres. While on the ground or on large tree limbs, it walks upright with its arms held high as a balancing aid.

Conservation

Hunting and habitat destruction are two key reasons why Lar Gibbons are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Only 10% of their original habitat now remains, mainly in protected reserves, and the biggest numbers in the wild are found in Thailand.

Did you know?

To drink water, the Lar Gibbon dips its hand into standing water and licks the liquid off. It also licks rainwater off hair. The reason why they are so wary of water? The species cannot swim!

The Fota Connection

One of three species of Gibbon in the Park, the Lar Gibbon has been in Cork since the very beginning of the Park. Located on one of the bigger islands in the lake area, they are a very active animal and can often be seen running across the pole and in and out of their main house.

One of the females, Namphon, was hand reared and arrived in the arms of her keeper from Twycross Zoo in Warwickshire. She has since adjusted fully to life as a wild Gibbon as the wardens at Fota don’t make any contact with the animals unless they need to.

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The impetus for the development of the Asia Sanctuary is to enhance the Wildlife Park to become an iconic international visitor attraction.

The concept of the development will be in line with the existing unique open nature of the Wildlife Park but will be designed to give this new development an authentic Asian ambiance.

Phase 1: Asian Forestry June 2014

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1,500,160

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Phase 2: Asian Wetlands June 2015

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210

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Phase 3: Asian Plains June 2016

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