White, K. 2019. Effects of captivity on the activity budgets of lar gibbons (Hylobates lar). Canopy 20(1), 43-45.
The keeping of gibbons in a captive environment and recreating an appropriate habitat is essential to enable them to exhibit species-specific behaviour. This research was designed to provide baseline data on the activity budgets of captive lar gibbons (Hylobates lar) and compare it to published data on wild gibbons. In this study individuals from two family groups of lar gibbons, one from the Lake District Wildlife Park (Group 1) and the second from South Lakes Safari Zoo (Group 2) were observed and activity budgets constructed from the data collected. Activity budgets of groups 1 and 2 were similar; however, they differed significantly from wild gibbons. Captive gibbons spent the greater percentage of their time resting (63-71%) compared with wild gibbons (26%). Captive gibbons spent significantly less time feeding/foraging (8-14%) compared with wild gibbons (33%). In vertical spatial usage, Group 2 and wild gibbons spent the greater percentage of their time at the high level (65-78%). Group 1 favoured the middle level (61%); however, this level is preferred by the majority of captive gibbons and is likely explained by the lack of sufficiently high physical enrichment structures in their enclosures. If the captive habitats at both establishments were subjected to increased environmental enrichment it would offer the gibbons the chance to express more locomotory behaviour and less resting periods thereby seeing an increased normalisation of their wild species-specific activity budgets and associated behaviours.