THE nature and animal park Terra Natura has welcomed the birth of a baby white-handed gibbon (hylobates lar). This is the second that the female named Amy and adult male Shantou have had in captivity since the male arrived in the park in 2008. The first male that was introduced died and Amy was said to have been mourning the death for over 3 years.
So far, the baby has no name, and caregivers have not yet discovered the sex of the little primate. The little gibbon will not be separated from the mother for the moment, as it is not until six months of age that they start to gain more independence from the mother and take their first solo jumps.
Gibbons are monogamous, so they often form a stable partnership for life when they reach an age of around eight years old. Groups of this kind usually consist of the breeding pair and their offspring, forming groups of up to 12 individuals. When the children reach sexual maturity they leave the group to form their own family.
The first baby born in Terra Natura of this species, called Pau, is already four-years-old now but is still very much attached to the mother.
The species has a gestation period of around 200 days.
Gibbons are incredibly fast and can reach speeds of up to 50 mph and jump up to 15 metres when moving between trees. Despite their ability to move through the trees like primates they tend to prefer to walk upright, which leads them to walk with arms outstretched or over their heads for balance, both up in the trees and on the ground. They can also communicate with each other over great distances as a means to advise other family members about food and intruders, for example.