Stone Zoo in New England has announced the birth of a critically endangered white cheeked gibbon. The baby gibbon was born on October 16.
The President and CEO of Zoo New England who run Stone Zoo, John Linehan said, “We are thrilled to share the news of this exciting birth of a critically endangered species, and it will be very special for our guests to watch this baby grow up as well as observe the family dynamics.”
This baby is a bit fragile so keepers are only allowing it out on exhibit when it is not raining and it is warmer than 60 degrees. Currently its gender is unknown. Her parents are 14 year old Iggy and 13 year old Kien Nahn. It also has a 3 year old sibling called Paddy. The whole family first appeared on exhibit together on November 5.
Of the exhibit Linehan said, “Since the white-cheeked gibbon exhibit opened at Stone Zoo in 2009, it has been one of the most popular spots within the Zoo. Guests take great delight in watching the gibbons demonstrate their incredible agility as they swing and play throughout this space.”
Currently the baby is clinging to her mother as she swings through the trees. She may be hard to spot as at they are the same buff colour. This helps them to camouflage in the trees. Unfortunately camouflage has not helped this species evade hunting and habitat loss. These pressures have led to an 80% drop in their population over 45 years.
To help save white cheeked gibbons Stone Zoo is part of a species survival plan which aims to make the population of gibbons in zoos genetically and demographically stable. This program recommended this breeding.
These incredibly agile apes live in family groups of a mated pair and their juvenile offspring a situation which has been recreated at the zoo. They spend a large amount of their day swinging through the trees.
Soon enough this little gibbon will become black. This is a process all the white cheeked gibbons go through at 1 year of age. If it is a girl it will return to the buff colour of the mother again at 5 years old. Males remain black for their entire life.
Photo Credit: Zoo New England/Dayle Sullivan Taylor