A Siamang Observation

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The primary activity I observed was the 3 older siamangs screaming at each other and moving very swiftly and elegantly through the tree limbs and ropes on their respective islands. An information plaque stated that the calls were meant to discourage invasion by other groups. I’m sure they vocalize for reasons other than that, but that was the only explanation given at the exhibit. Also, there did not seem to be any direct animosity between the siamangs on the different islands. Each one, save the smaller, made the same pattern of calls for quite a long time, and did nothing but swing around the ropes and tree limbs. It seemed to me as though they were singing and dancing, not trying to frighten the other. That is why I am also stating that I observed play, because the two adult siamangs on the one island chased one another through the trees. Also, for only a few minutes they even rubbed each others heads and held hands, although one became tired of those activities rather quickly and sought to escape from the other. This entire time, the smaller siamang only lied on a rock and ate some vegetation I could not discern. Unfortunately, I was unable to observe any grooming because of their interest in screaming and swinging. While they were not my chosen group, I did manage to catch two female baboons grooming each other, so at the very least I did observe it some. There didn’t appear to be any sexual behavior between the siamangs whilst I observed them. I was glad to have witnessed an amusing incident involving the adolescent siamang close to the end of my observation. While trying to get a drink, he/she accidentally fell into a small pool of water on one of the rocks, and was amusing to watch climb out and try to shake himself/herself off. Ultimately, the vocalization and the locomotion were the two major highlights of my observation period which lasted

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