WHITE HANDED GIBBON (hylobates lar)
Habitat: Sumatra, Malaysia, Southwestern Thailand and Cambodia
Weight: 11 to 20 pounds
Gestation: 200 to 212 days
Longevity: 30 to 35 years
Diet: Fruits, nuts, leaves occasionally bird eggs.
The gibbon like all apes is tailless and has extremely long arms, which it uses to brachiate through the highest treetops in its forest home. Living in family groups of an adult male and female and their 3 to 4 various age young, the gibbons are highly territorial, defending home site from all other gibbons. A loud piercing whooping call is used to identify individual members and to warn intruders of the resident's territory. To watch the gibbons virtually "fly" through their treetop home is a never to be forgotten sight and one that seems to defy gravity. The single young are born about two years apart and remain with the family group until the onset of maturity, about 6 to 7 years, at which time they are driven out by the parents. They may join other recently expelled young adults for awhile until they find a mate and attempt to acquire a territory of their own.
All gibbons are endangered in their native environment due to habitat destruction and general human interference. The Natural Bridge Zoological Park maintains several family group and works cooperatively with other zoological institutions to propagate and exchange individual gibbons to maintain genetic diversity.