The Year of the Gibbon – Happy Thanksgibbon! – HOUSTON ZOO
In the U.S.A in Houston there is a great zoo. One of the great attractions are the funny Gibbons that entertain the crowds. The Zoo does encourages many school trips and takes education very seriously indeed.
Gibbons are social animals; they are strongly territorial and defend their boundaries with vigorous visual and vocal displays. There are few sounds in nature more evocative than the whooping song of a gibbon.
The sound can be heard for a distance of up to half a mile consisting of a duet between a mated pair. Yet the songs, performed by both sexes, are highly complex and their subtleties and nuances are far from fully understood. Males accompany females and create complex duets and the degree of synchronization between the sexes increases with practice, and the quality of the song relates to the length of time they have been together. Each species of gibbon has its own song, and each male and female song differs from one another.The Houston Zoo is home to a pair of siamang gibbons who have been living together for a couple of years.
You will most likely hear their duet early in the morning before they go outside, or later in the afternoon. Male and female siamangs are normally similar in size, but Jambi, our 19 year old female, is quite a bit larger than our 15 year old male, Berani. You will find the pair relaxing together, or grooming each other, and occasionally engaging in play behavior. Jambi is particularly fond of twirling around and around on a large sheet tied to a rope in the exhibit, and Berani will hang from a rope above Jambi and tap her gently to get her to play with him.