I'LL BE up front with you here: I know of only one 50-year-old gibbon.
However, I think gibbons are best dealt with one at a time. Don't you agree?
The lar gibbon known as "Granny" Jane lives at Twycross Zoo, in the English Midlands. She arrived there — not entirely of her own volition — at the age of four in 1966. In case anyone needs reminding, that was the year Scotland didn't win the World Cup.
Jane is still going strong, doing what gibbons do: swinging aboot the place. She's been doing this for longer than would gibbons in the wild, which shows how great we humans are at helping the animals.
Keepers at Twycross attribute Jane's longevity to being "chilled out and wise", though they add that she is also "often stubborn".
Chilled out: I don't know how you achieve that. It seems to be the key to everything, from Buddhism to immortality. Every time I try to act chilled out I get frustrated and end up throwing things aboot the room.
Jane was so chilled out she let herself be impregnated 13 times, and her gibbonlings — if that's the term — can be found at six different European zoos. But she's past all that nonsense now and can just sit aboot watching her arms grow longer.
Jane remains surprisingly agile for her age, though she doesn't say much, at least compared to the yodelling black-crested gibbons of Wuliangshan (not making that up; if you know anyone with a computer, ask them to check it out for you).
Needless to say, the lar gibbon is on the critically endangered species list, though Jane is probably unaware of this as, like all animals, she's a bit dense.
However, we're delighted to send birthday greetings and to wish her many happy returns.
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