NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you are at the Nashville Zoo in the morning, you will hear the signature sound of the Gibbons call. And if you head to the Primate Area, they will be entertaining.

“This exhibit is crazy popular,” exclaimed Whitney Roman, Nashville Zoo Primate Keeper. “It’s in a really great place because in the mornings they like to call quite a bit. They’ll climb up to the trees. You hear them kind of screaming back and forth. So, it’s a really good way to greet the guests, to come into that, and see it. And you can kind of explain that they’re not just screaming their heads off, they’re actually doing a territorial call.”

And though they may look like monkeys, they are actually considered apes.

“So, these are “lesser apes” which does not mean they are lesser,” Roman said. “They definitely are really awesome. They just don’t have as large of a brain as a great ape. They also have monkey-like features that confuse people. But they do not have the tail.”

And they have a pretty unique way of swinging through the trees, due to a special aspect of their physiology.

“They have a really awesome wrist,” Roman pointed out. “It’s made kind of like a rod. So, when they catch, they are swinging and able to move their wrists in a way that we can’t. So, it just has them able to completely fly across from tree to tree.”

And there is a family here that goes back generations.

“We have Makaio. Makaio is six years old'” Roman said. “He is the kiddo of Singwah and Paddy. They are sort of hiding out in the back.”

And grandma Muffy, mother to Singwah, is living behind the scenes at the zoo. She is fifty-two years old!

Gibbons are originally from southeast Asia. And now they are now considered an endangered species.

“They are critically endangered due to de-forestation,” Roman explained. “They just don’t have anywhere to live anymore. Trees being cut down, people hunting them for meat, hunting for the pet trade…side note: they are terrible pets. Never get them as a pet. But there are really not many of them left.”

Because of that, the Nashville Zoo participates in the species survival plan for this species to increase the captive population.

And get ready for International Gibbon Day!

“We’re celebrating International Gibbon Day in the next couple of weeks,” Roman said. “It’s going to be really exciting. We’re going to have some informational booths. It’s just really important to highlight these guys and to understand what’s going on in the wild, and how we can help them at home.”

If you visit the Primate Area at the Nashville Zoo, the gibbons are not the only ones there. Besides the white-cheeked and siamang gibbons, there are cotton-topped tamarins, emperor tamarins, spider monkeys, ring-tail lemurs, and red-ruffed lemurs all there for you to experience!

News 2 has partnered with Nashville Zoo to bring you weekly segments of Zoopalooza. You can watch them on News 2 on Good Morning Nashville on Saturday and right here on