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Baby White-Cheeked Gibbon by Anita Yantz 1a

There is a lot of oohing and aahing at Lincoln Park Zoo’s primate house. A critically endangered White-Cheeked Gibbon gave birth to a healthy infant on Jan 6. Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy reported, “The parents are doing great and the infant is a good size with a tight grip and has been seen nursing.” The infant has yet to be sexed or named.

This is the third offspring for mother Burma and father Caruso. White-cheeked gibbons are believed to pair bond for life, and can have offspring every 2-3 years after a 7-8-month gestation period. 

Baby White-Cheeked Gibbon by Anita Yantz 2bPhoto credits: Top two photos, Anita Yantz

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This rare ape is native to parts of southeastern Asia. They have extremely long arms and legs perfect for hanging and swinging throughout the forest. At birth the infants are strong enough to cling tightly to their mother’s belly while she swings from branch to branch. Gibbons are unique in that infants are born with tan colored fur like their mother, but by age two their color turns to black. When they reach adulthood, males remain black and females will have changed back to golden tan.  

Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Gibbon Species Survival Plan, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo also financially contributes to gibbon field conservation efforts to continue the longevity of the species.

The infant can be seen daily at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Helen Brach Primate House. The infant will be tucked into the mother’s arms and clinging to her for comfort and safety.

Baby White-Cheeked Gibbon and Mom by Lisa Rank 2bPhoto credit: Lisa Rank