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Gibbons have a reputation as the trapeze artists of the animal kingdom. They are able to glide up to almost 40 feet (12 meters) through the air using their elongated arms to move from branch to branch in an effortless motion. Born in December 2011 at Drusillas Park in the UK, this young Lar Gibbon named Sholo is just a quarter of the size of the adults, but that doesn’t stop him from asserting his independence. Over the last few weeks he has started branching out alone and getting into the swing of life at the zoo. Following in the arm-steps of many Gibbons before him, Sholo is developing his skills, moving between the trees and ropes in his habitat -- although mom Tali never lets him get too far away.

Throughout the early years, Gibbon babies remain dependent on their mothers for both warmth and food. Sholo will be nursed for up to two years and will not reach full maturity until the age of eight. But since May, Sholo has been feeding himself little amounts of food; grapes seem to be a particular favorite. Lar Gibbons mostly eat fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds, but they will also eat small animals in the wild. 

Lar Gibbons are found throughout the forests of Southeast Asia, where populations are threatened mainly due to hunting and loss of habitat. They live in family groups and are monogamous, mating for life. 

Photo Credits: Ian Standivan