Scientific Name: Hylobates lar, Family: Hylobatidae, Order: Primates, Class: Mammalia, Geographic distribution: Tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia. White-handed gibbons lack a prehensile tail and they use a form of locomotion called brachiation to swing from tree to tree and branch to branch. Among the anthropoid apes they are fully BI-pedal, walking and running in an almost erect position like man. Sugary fruits are delicacies to the gibbon. They are most selective feeders and are primarily frugivores. Like humans, they are monogamous, each family group consisting of a male adult, his mate, and up to four offspring. Female gibbons produce only one offspring every two years. As the offspring matures it becomes independent and leaves the group between the ages of six to eight years. This species is rapidly becoming endangered because of the ignorance of man. They are hunted for food, shot for sport, or captured for pet trading. Most of all, man has contributed their rapid endangerment by deforestation of their natural habitat.
The Santa Ana Zoo has in their possession two White-Handed Gibbons. One male and one female, the males name is Gibson. He was captive born in Santa Barbara on July 7 1990, and was then transferred after about seven years to the Santa Ana Zoo. He is nine years two months and thirty days old, as of the fourth of October; he weighs about twenty pounds and has dark brown to black hair. The female whose name is Princess was captive born at the Santa Ana Zoo on November 7 1986, which would make her twelve years ten months and twenty-nine days old. She weighs about 14 pounds, and has light brown hair.
It appears as though Princess and Gibson are happy and content with each other in their small confines with your initial approach. However there is more than meets the eye with these individuals. Despite the fact that these
individuals were captive born, they still possess instinctual behavior. It appears as though they know that there is more to life than the small enclosure in which they live in. To begin with I'd like to focus on Princess and her dominance over Gibson. Where does this aggressive behavior stem from? Is it the age difference, or the fact that she was the first to inhibit the enclosure? This study will as well focus in on the behavior of these primates in general in comparison to behavior demonstrated in the wild.
I began to observe the White-Handed Gibbons on October 3, 1999 at approximately 14:30 hours, and ending at 16:00 hours. In my possession I possessed a stopwatch a pen, pad of paper, and an ethogram. Focal sampling will be used, making documentation every two minuets, with 30-minute time periods for each primate. The behaviors will be divided into one of seven catagories defined below.