Who has arms twice as long as their legs?

Siamangs use their incredibly long arms to swing around the jungle treetops. This special behavior is called brachiation. They swing much like a pendulum, grabbing one branch and releasing it before grabbing the next, so that the body is freely projected through the air. And they can go fast! Siamang can travel up to 56km per hour.

The call of the wild...

Siamang are the loudest gibbons, making territorial booming calls that can be heard 2km away through the dense forest! They have large gular sacs (throat sacs) that they inflate (with air) to the size of their heads - that’s what make their calls so very loud.  They create a deep ‘boom’ with their mouth open and a loud ‘wow’ sound with their mouth closed. Siamang pairs create a duet that is completely unique. Duetting helps to strengthen a pairs bond and makes marking their territory even louder.

At the Zoo

Our male Intan and female Kera have been together at Auckland Zoo since 2015. Kera was born at Mogo Zoo, Australia and arrived in 2009. Intan joined her from Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch. Our keepers say that they are best friends and have a close bond. This tight bond is normal for siamangs who are monogamous and mate for life. Of the two, Kera is more confident and Intan usually watches and follows her. They are both very playful and love to monkey around.

At home up high

Siamang are arboreal and love to spend time up high in trees. Here at Auckland Zoo we have designed their new habitat to care especially for the siamangs, so  they can move along the ropes and between the trees just like in the jungle.  While visiting make sure you take the time to look up in the trees and along the high ropes to catch them in action! 

The metal structures you might see in their habitats are designed to be tree-like and will blend in with the vegetation when the trees grow. They have been painted in a special paint to make sure it’s not too hot to touch in the sunshine. 

Eating in the tree-tops

Siamang eat a lot of leaves.  Half their diet consists of leaves, whether it’s leafy vegetables like you might find in your salad or perhaps the young leaves and shoots of coprosma, bamboo, ferns; their diet also includes a lot of fruit, flowers and insects.

Lots of choice

The habitat is designed to enable lots of choice with multiple arboreal feeders and drinkers, sheltered areas, and loads of climbing options with lots of space to roam.

What’s up doc?

Like all the animals at Auckland Zoo, the siamang have regular vet checks. As part of their care, the keepers use a method called ‘crate training’ where the siamang are rewarded with edible treats for entering the crate. The crate soon becomes a safe place and they enter freely, reducing stress if they need to pop up to the vet for a health check. Keepers also train the siamang to stand on scales. Weighing the siamang is part of the way we can monitor their health. It also allows keepers to get up close to the siamang to visually check them as well.

In the Wild

Origin: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand

Habitat: Want to find a siamang in its tropical forest home? Look up! They’re usually found in the trees at a high of 25-30m in sub-tropical rainforests of South East Asia.

Conservation status: Endangered


Watch our siamang enter their new enclosure for the very first time!

Our new High Canopy Habitat opened to the public on the 1st of July - watch our siamang and orangutans explore their new home.

How we're helping

We’ve worked with the Sumatran Ranger Project since 2016. Our partnership supports a team of rangers who work with local forest edge communities of the Leuser Ecosystem to provide long term protection to the species that live there. The rangers’ mission is to halt activities that damage the buffer zone and are a threat to wildlife, and to assist forest edge communities living within the buffer zone of the Leuser ecosystem.

Why we're helping

The Leuser Ecosystem is one of the world's richest, yet least known and threatened forest ecosystems. As well as being home to siamang, the Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on earth where Sumatran orangutans, rhinoceros, elephants and tigers still co-exist and is the last strong hold for all these critically endangered species. 

Siamang habitat is being destroyed by illegal logging to make way for palm oil plantations and siamang are one of the most heavily traded gibbon species for illegal pet trade.

Every month the rangers patrol the buffer zone of the Leuser Ecosystem on foot through at least five forest edge communities, buffer zone forest and land; deactivating and removing snares, providing community outreach and education, conducting aerial surveys with drones, responding to and helping mitigate human-wildlife conflict, reporting illegal activity and collecting wildlife and human-wildlife conflict data. The team have removed over 500 snares to date, and are the only team patrolling the Leuser Ecosystem buffer zone in North Sumatra.

Other South East Asian Species