When I went to Vietnam earlier this year (2012) on the caving expedition with my friend Jonas we could hear the sound of Gibbons singing in the distance in the very early mornings in the area of Cat Tien National Park.
It was such an unusual sound that in fact at first I had absolutely no idea what was making it, in the end we hired a guide and getting up at 03:30am walked along a starlit track to meet this person.
On meeting him, in fact there were two of them we then made our way through the forest on a long walk which consisted mostly of tripping on the twisted roots and being in danger of getting garroted by the low hanging branches.
Suddenly we stopped, the man in front and his friend seemed to know that the Gibbons were there, though at that point we heard nothing, out of the darkness dawn broke and the sky got lighter, we waited….
Then suddenly out of nowhere came this extraordinary sound, this is what we heard:
The group of Gibbons that we stood and listened to in awe are the White Cheeked Gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys) and like much of the wildlife are sadly endangered.
Often referred to as ‘lesser apes’ Gibbons are smaller than the like of Gorillas, orangutans and other apes and display similar movement tactics to monkeys swinging adeptly from tree to tree being the fastest and most agile of the mammals that live in trees and do not fly.
These sociable, fast-moving mammals who live in groups can travel up to 35 miles per hour and leap as far as 8 meters which is astounding, here’s hoping that some protection will be given to these beguiling mammals and that their numbers will improve.