Saturday, November 22, 2008
Last night I was sitting at home, watching cool videos with one of my roomies Johanna. I had just been reading the latest National Geographic and there was a little ditty about the Siamang, so we youtubed some videos of them singing. If you've never heard of a Siamang, you're in for a treat. These crazy apes (apes, not monkey, apes) are probably the most vocal animal I have ever heard. Back at home we could hear them at the zoo from like 2 miles away. I think these guys must have been where they got Tarzan's howl. The quick and dirty wikipedia summary of a Siamang is this:
They hail from Southeast Asia where they are the largest of the Gibbon family (their arm span can reach 5 feet, compared to their mere 3 foot stature). They can live to be 30 in captivity and form life-long monogamous bonds which usually produce only a few babies. Their real stand-out feature is the enormous "gular sac" which helps to resonate their intense calls or "songs."
My own personal bias is that they are the most adorable of the gibbons and are really amazing to watch and listen to. There are plenty of zoos in the U.S. that have Siamang populations, including Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, the Memphis Zoo and the Honolulu Zoo (and really that's only naming a few). There are probably plenty internationally as well, I don't know so much about that. They are an endangered species due to both being hunted and caught for pets, and because their habitat is being destroyed. Go see them at your local zoo, listen to their song, they're gorgeous creatures!