Cambodia’s Beautiful Gibbons Could Be Vulnerable to COVID-19, Study Warns

New research found that gibbons alter their behavior in the presence of tourists, which could lead to weakened immune systems that make them susceptible to infection.

The early morning calls of gibbons swinging from limb to limb in the dense forests of Cambodia are a prime wildlife draw in the Southeast Asian country.

But as pandemic restrictions ease and sightseeing resumes a new study is urging tourists to wear masks and other personal protective equipment when near gibbons, whose jittery immune systems make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

From a health standpoint Cambodia has not been hit hard by the pandemic, but the lack of international tourism is a major drain on the economy. With few travel barriers for those in country, eco-tourism operators are eagerly looking forward to November gibbon spotting season.

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