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Siamang Gibbon Baby Born at Baton Rouge Zoo

Baby face 33

Early in the morning on May 26, 2011 a Siamang Gibbon baby was born at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo in Louisiana. The baby is currently on exhibit with its mother (born in 1993 at Fresno Zoo) and father (born in 1984 at San Francisco Zoo). Siamangs are monogamous and live with offspring until they reach maturity. This pair has reproduced in the past, and this is their third baby together.

At birth, the baby clings to its mother’s abdomen, getting necessary warmth and support. By age 2 the baby is independent, but still very much a part of the family structure. Siamangs are not possessive about food and often share with mates and offspring. They are fed a variety of fruits and vegetables along with primate chow.

 Siamang Born 5.26.11

Siamang family

Siamang 5.11

Photo Credit: Baton Rouge Zoo

Siamangs are not monkeys, but lesser apes. An easy way to explain the difference is that apes, both lesser and greater, have no tails. Over 80 percent of their locomotion is brachiation, which means that they use their arms to cross over and swing along rather than walking. However, they can knuckle walk or walk upright. 10 percent of their locomotion is bi-pedal, the most of any non-human primate. 80 percent of Siamangs have the 2nd and 3rd toes joined by a bridge of flesh, hence the scientific name Hylobates syndactylus meaning “gibbon with fused digits.”

Siamangs are an SSP species, meaning they are managed by a Species Survival Plan.More than 120 institutions in North America, including the Baton Rouge Zoo, participate in various SSPs. An SSP is a breeding program to help insure a species’ survival. Organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), each plan manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. The Baton Rouge Zoo participates in the Siamang gibbon SSP as well as many others.