Siamang Gibbon

ZOO LOCATION: Primate World

Lifespan: 25-30 years

Wild Diet: Mostly leaves; also fruits, flowers and insects

Zoo Diet: Fruit, vegetables, some meat and monkey chow

Predators: Clouded leopards, martens, snakes

SSP: yes

IUCN Status: Endangered

Habitat/Range: Upper canopy rain forests in Malaysia and Sumatra

Characteristics: Black in color with red-brown eyebrows. Largest of the gibbon family. They are the best at walking on two legs. Adults weigh up to 23 lbs. and 30-35 in. long.

Behavior: Siamangs are arboreal, which means they live in trees. They get around the forest by brachiating. Their extra long arms allow them to cover up to 10 ft. per swing! Siamangs are the trapeze artists of the ape world. They can launch themselves 30-50 ft. from branch to branch. In a typical day, a siamang can cover up to 1 mile while looking for leaves and fruit to eat. Siamangs live in families. The call of a siamang is louder than other gibbons because of their amplifying throat sac. Their songs include booms and barks, made louder by an inflatable throat sac. These booming calls can be heard up to two miles away. The calls are used for claiming territory.

Wild siamangs follow a daily routine, just like most of us! They wake at sunrise and perform their morning concert, and then their family sets out in search of food. It usually takes them about five hours to eat their fill. After eight to ten hours of activity they return to their sleeping place. Unlike other primates, they do not build nests but sleep in the "y' of trees.

Reproduction: Gestation period of about 215 days. Usually only 1 offspring is born at a time. Young depend on their mother for 2 years. Siamangs mate for life. The female cares for the infant during the first year, and then the male takes over most of the daily care activities. There is no typical breeding season.

Conservation: Listed as Endangered, there is reason to believe the species has declined at least 50% over the past 40 years (three generations) due primarily to hunting for pet trade and habitat loss. There has likely been 70-80% habitat loss of primary habitat within the past 50 years within the range of the species, this species is one of the most adaptable gibbons to habitat change.