Beastly Beat
Henry & Georgia the White-handed Gibbons

On any given day as visitors walk through the zoo, they may hear a strange whooping "song" coming from the white-handed gibbon exhibit. This loud call is used by these animals to mark their territory and broadcasts information on the species and gender of individuals. Sometimes even visitors join in and try to mimic the gibbon's whooping call.

The white-handed gibbon is a native of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra in Southern Asia and is the only ape at the Alexandria Zoo. The difference between apes and monkeys is apes do not have a tail. Apes also have more or less upright posture, and a higher development of their brain.

The Alexandria Zoo's white-handed gibbons are named Henry and Georgia. These very active apes love to swing from end to end in their exhibit. Gibbons are excellent brachiators, which mean they travel through the trees by swinging and leaping. They can leap 30 feet or more in one good swing!

Males or females can have blonde, brown or black fur covering their bodies. Henry has black fur and Georgia has blonde. All white handed gibbons have a white ring around the face and white hands. Gibbons use their hands like hooks and often carry food with their feet as they swing. Both Georgia and Henry love grapes which they get a few times a week. Georgia also loves bananas.

Click here to learn more about white-handed gibbons.