Who knows that gibbons are the smallest of the great apes, that they bond in pairs-not groups, and are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling , non-flying mammals-that they are personable, funny, and mischievous?
My friend, Virginia Handley, (in addition to getting me back into tap shoes-bless her heart) invited me to go to the international conference of IPPL, International Primate Protection League, twelve years ago.
The soul and director of the organization is Shirley McGreal, a force in the threatened lives and habitat of primates around the world. At IPPL’s headquarters in Summerville, SC, she and her staff personally care for 37 gibbons-most of whom came from places that would have sent you and me to the looney bin: research labs, tourist attractions, funky zoos, and cramped cages in people’s homes where they were purportedly pets. Arrggghhh!
To meet Whoop-whoop, Maynard, Maui, Arun Rangsi, Courtney…is akin to visiting a playground where there is harmony-the kids swinging, conversing, and peering at you with curious, intelligent eyes.