Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon

Region: Vietnam

Status Ongoing

Titielfoto: Sven Peter

The Voice of Asia’s Rainforests

Their loud and energetically calls are described as some of the finest songs ever heard in the tropical rainforests of Asia. Sometimes they occur as a fascinating solo song that echoes through the forest or as a long duet in the early morning hours. Then they swing on their long arms with remarkable power and grace, moving rapidly from one branch to another, high up in the top of the trees. Here is where they spend their whole life – gibbons are highly specialized forest-dwellers, living high in the forest canopy.

Like all other primate species, gibbons are under very severe threat. The Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) too. This species is found in South Vietnam, Laos and north-eastern Cambodia. The Yellow-cheeked crested gibbon owes its name to its distinctive colouration:  the males have a black fur with only the cheeks being yellow, whereas the females and the newly born are of a bright yellow colour.
It is little known about the species and there are no real records of how many still exist in the wild. However, due to an estimated population reduction of at least 50% in less than 50 years, the Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon is categorised as Endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN Red List). Due to severe habitat loss and hunting for meat and the pet trade there are probably just few animals left in the wild and urgent conservation measures are needed to prevent them from extinction.

A project for the conservation of the Southern Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon in Vietnam was established in Mai 2011. The project in “Nam Nung Nature Reserve “stands under the leadership of a Vietnamese primatologist from the Vietnam Forestry University in Hanoi.
The project site was situated in the highland centre of Vietnam, about 350 km north north-east of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). A total of 46 mammal species, 173 bird species and 46 reptile species has been recorded in this area. Besides the Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon, seven other primate species occur in the nature reserve: black shanked douc langur, four macaque and two lori species. However there is still little known about the unique biodiversity of Nam Nung and, though officially protected, the reserve is still under threat and under heavy pressure from illegal deforestation and hunting.

In June 2016 the Stiftung Artenschutz and the Zoological Society of Frankfurt (ZGF) launched a cooperation project for the conservation of the Northern yellow-cheeked crested gibbon (Nomascus annamensis) and its habitat.

The project takes place in the Kon Ka Kinh National Park, a protected area in the central mountainous region of Vietnam. The ZGF has been active there for a long time and supports the management of the National Park in the control and management of the approximately 42,000 hectare area.The objective of the cooperation project is ensuring the stable recovering of remaining population of the species in the Kon Ka Kinh national park. Core of the work on site is the recording of the current situation and distribution of the Northern yellow-cheeked crested gibbon in the national park and its buffer zone. The extensive protective measures include targeted public relations work and environmental education in order to sensitize the local population to the topic of game hunting and species protection. Another component of the protection project is the creation of a documentary on the protection of primates at the Kon Ka Kinh National Park.

This project was made possible thanks to the generous support of Mr. Anthony Sheridan.

We thank "Endangered" Association for its donation to this project.