London: The world`s rarest ape has an increased chance of survival after a new family group of Hainan gibbons(Nomascus hainanus) has been found.
"Finding a new Hainan gibbon group is a fantastic boost for the population. We had hoped to locate at least one or two solitary gibbons, but discovering a whole new family group complete with a baby is beyond our wildest dreams," said lead researcher Jessica Bryant at Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Earlier, it was thought that there were just 25 Hainan gibbons living in three social groups on an island off the Chinese mainland.
The discovery of a new fourth group, a mating pair with a young baby, sighted within Bawangling National Nature Reserve, Hainan Province, increases the known population by almost 12 percent.
The discovery increases reproductive potential of the population, which could be vital for the long-term survival of the critically endangered gibbons.
With this discovery, the total population of Hainan gibbons goes up to around 28 individuals.
Gibbons are typically located by the sound of their daily song. By utilising new acoustic techniques that prompt gibbons to investigate and call, the team were able to locate this new group.
"The success of our discovery is really encouraging. We now want to learn more about this new group, and also hope to extend the investigation to perhaps even find additional solitary gibbons or other groups. It is a great day for Hainan gibbon conservation," Bryant said.