The zoo currently has six gibbons, Jon, Lucy, Lea, Cheeky, Lloyd and a baby. Adult Gibbons can be distinguished easily as male or female, by simply looking at their fur coat. Males are black and females are yellow.
When gibbons are born, they have a yellow fur coat just like the mother. This would enable them to camouflage with the mother and be protected from any danger in the wild. During the first 9-12 months, the baby gibbon relies completely on the mother, especially for feeding. The baby relies on the mother’s milk for food, and it does so by the act of suckling.
After the age of 9-12 months, the baby changes colour to black, which provides a camouflage in the rainforest environment. At the age of 2, the gibbon no longer relies on the mother’s milk and can digest solid food.
At the age of 5-7, females change back to yellow and males stay black. This change marks the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. This change occurs in all animals including humans, and it’s what we call Puberty.
When a gibbon’s gone through puberty, they leave their parents’ territory at the age of 6-8 to find a mate of their own. Gibbons try to find a mate by singing a song, and wait to hear a song that they like back! The pair set up a territory together, and continue to sing to each other every morning. Later on, when they have young of their own, they too will join in on the singing. This helps mark the territory of the gibbon family from other gibbons and animals.