A friend and I were up in the cool clime of the sub to montane hills of Bkt Tinggi, Pahang, Malaysia over the weekend. It was destined to be a normal birding trip, not until we were visited by a family of 4 Siamangs or the Malaysian Black Furred Gibbons. We stopped all activities just so that we could watch and follow these four super apes swing effortlessly and almost silently from tree to tree.
I observed that the leader, an alpha male was showing the rest, most probably the mama and 2 siblings 'the way' as one by one all 3 followed the leader's 'route' from one tree branch to the next. The petai or bitter bean botanical name Parkia speciosa is in season and the gibbons were feasting on the ripe ones. After peeling open the sleeve to get at the beans the sleeves were then discarded and strewn all over the ground below.
Siamangs are found in various parts of Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra, Indonesia.
While the illegal pet trade takes a toll on wild populations, the principal threat to the siamang is habitat loss in both Malaysia and Sumatra. The Palm oil production industry is clearing large swaths of forest, reducing the habitat of the siamang, along with that of other species such as the Sumatran Tiger. Ref: Wikipedia.
Here are photos of the family.
Mr. BIG - the Papa