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Hylobates moloch | Javan Gibbon | Owa Jawa


Great spot: Mount Halimun Salak National Park, Java, Indonesia

© Rahayu Oktaviani

Mount Halimun Salak National Park, Java



Taxonomy & Occurrence

Hylobates moloch is a monotypic species (no subspecies). It can only be found in Java (Indonesia).


IUCN Conservation Status



The Javan Gibbon is one of the rarest gibbons in the world, with fewer than 2,500 mature individuals left [1]. Most populations are found in West Java, but a few remain in Central Java [2,3].

Seeing this Species


Just like other gibbons (Hoolock, Hylobates, Nomascus, Symphalangus), the Javan Gibbon can be heard from kilometers away. The gibbons regularly call in the early mornings, so be sure to be up and out by 7am!


There are five non-human primates that can only be found in Java: Javan Slow Loris, Javan Langur, West Javan Langur, East Javan Langur, and Javan Gibbon. In Mount Halimun Salak National Park, you get a chance to see four of them!


Mount Halimun-Salak National Park, Java, Indonesia 

Sundanese for "The Mountains of the Mist", Mount Halimun Salak National Park preserves Java's largest remaining rainforest, ranging from 500m to nearly 2,000m above sea level.. It is also believed to have one of the highest densities of Javan Gibbon [4,5].


From the capital Jakarta, it takes approximately 6 hours to reach the national park. There's plenty to see once you exit the busy traffic of the city, going through narrow strips of vibrant towns and winding stone-clad roads, and into the mist-shrouded mountains. We went with two local bird-watching good friends and shared a rental car (with a driver, see Local contacts below) which was relatively inexpensive. You may also go with bus or train towards Bogor, and then minibus (locally known as angkot) to Cigudeg. Lastly, hail a motorcycle taxi (ojek) to the national park entrance. The charm of Mount Halimun Salak lies in its remoteness, which also means that the roads are rough and getting there on your own may not be easy.


There are two entrances: Cikaniki and Citalahab. We went to the Cikaniki research station, which also provides accommodation (with kitchen, so you may cook here!). In fact, the 3.8km footpath that connects Cikaniki and Citalahab is a wonderful spot for primate watching. We saw three groups of Javan Gibbon, and the other two diurnal primates (Javan Langur and West Javan Langur) in just one morning! The park director and rangers were extremely friendly and provided free maps.


A few fees to note (click to enlarge):



















Probability of success: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇


Overlapping species: Javan Slow Loris, Long-tailed Macaque, Javan Langur, West Javan Langur


Other sites:

Gunung Gede Nature Reserve, Java, Indonesia

I have yet to visit this nature reserve.

More information can be found at their official site.


Overlapping species: Javan Slow Loris, Long-tailed Macaque, Javan Langur, West Javan Langur                      

Obtained from official site of national park.

Kindly translated by Rahayu Oktaviani.

Local contacts: Javan Gibbon Research and Conservation Project (, Mr. Yudhi (rental car: +62 815 8504 9048)                               

At approximately 1,000m asl

© Andie Ang

Mount Halimun, Java

Waterfalls and rapids

© Andie Ang

Mount Halimun, Java


[1] Andayani N., Brockelman W.Y., Geissmann T., Nijman V. & Supriatna J., 2008. Hylobates moloch. In: IUCN 2014. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 29 June 2014

[2] Kappeler M., 1984. The gibbon in Java. In: Preuschoft H., Chivers D.J., Brockelman W.Y. & Creel N. (eds.), The lesser apes: evolutionary and behavioural biology. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 19-31

[3] Nijman V., 1995. Remarks on the occurrence of gibbons in Central Java. Primate Conservation 16: 66-67

[4] Sugarjito J., Sinaga M.H. & Yoneda M., 1997. Survey of the distribution and density of primates in Gunung Halimun National Park West Java, Indonesia. In: The inventory of national resources in Gunung Halimun National Park. Vol II. LIPI, JICA, PHPA, Bogor, 56-62

[5] Nijman V., 2004. Conservation of the Javan gibbon Hylobates moloch: populations estimates, local extinctions, and conservation priorities. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 52: 271-280




Page Last Updated: 11 February 2019

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