Lar Gibbon

ZOO LOCATION: Monkey Pavilion

Lifespan: Up to 25 years

Wild Diet: 75% fruit; also leaves, shoots, flowers, small birds and insects

Zoo Diet: Zoo diet is 'primate chow', fruits, vegetables and browse

Predators: Typically none because of their location in the canopy

SSP: yes

IUCN Status: Endangered

Habitat/Range: Arboreal. middle and upper stories of deciduous monsoon and evergreen rain forests in southeast Asia

Characteristics: The lar gibbon is a small ape, the body length is less than 3' long with adults only weighing up to 16 pounds. They have very long arms, hands and feet and are tail-less. These gibbons' coats are long and dense, varying in color from black to pale brown to yellowish. They often have white markings on hands, feet and face.

Behavior: Gibbons are social animals that live in family groups consisting of one mated pair and several young. They are strongly territorial and defend their boundaries aggressively. Early in the morning, the pair begins loud vocal battles, which seem to be both territorial and to reinforce the family bonds. In addition to vocalizations, primates use a variety of facial expressions and body postures to communicate. Social grooming and playing is also important within the family unit.

Reproduction: Gestation lasts about 200 days and the female usually gives birth to a single young, every 2-4 years. Young are usually hairless and must be sheltered between the mother's thighs and abdomen to keep warm. Young are weaned within two years of birth. They stay with the group until they reach sexual maturity at about 6-8 years. Although young are mostly cared for by the mother, the father and older siblings still in the group also help out.

Conservation: Lar gibbons are hunted for meat in some areas and capture from the wild for the pet trade is also a serious problem. However the greatest threat to these gibbons is deforestation. Their habitat is diminishing due to logging and agricultural, leaving lar gibbons and other rainforest animals without homes. Efforts are being made to save these primates in national parks and reserves. CITES laws protect them from live capture and trade, but more work needs to be done to ensure their future. Lar gibbons are listed as Endangered, it is believed to have undergone a decline of more than 50% in the last three generations (45 years) due to forest loss and loss of mature individuals due to hunting.