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White-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar)

White-handed gibbon
White-handed gibbonWhite-handed gibbonWhite-handed gibbon

Personal Information
The Zoo has two gibbons. Bennett was born in 1981 and is blond in color. Dorothy, born in 1971, is black in color. These two will often burst into spontaneous song, which is a territorial call. Interestingly, in the wild, each family has a unique song, which is how they keep in touch.

Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Endangered. The greatest threat to the white-handed gibbon is habitat destruction and deforestation. The Seneca Park Zoo is assisting the international efforts to raise awareness and improve the prospects of this species as part of the Species Survival Plan.

Thailand, Laos, Burma and the Malay Peninsula in deciduous monsoon and evergreen forests make up the White-handed gibbon’s habitat.

Gibbons’ diet consists of ripe fruit (especially figs), birds, birds’ eggs, leaves, insects and spiders.

  • White-handed gibbons have long arms, distinctive white-colored hands and a white ring around their faces. They range from black to cream in color.
  • Gibbons are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their lives in trees and rarely touch the ground.
  • This is the only higher primate that finds a mate for life. The family is made of a mated pair and their offspring, and the offspring move on following adolescence.
  • It seems white-handed gibbons fly through the trees, swinging up to 40 feet at a time, a behavior called brachiation.
  • White-handed gibbons are about 3-feet long and weigh an average of 14 pounds.