Zoo Wroclaw is excited to announce the birth of a Northern White-cheeked Gibbon. The baby arrived on June 28th, and the sex is not yet known.
Zoo Wrocław is now home to a total of three Northern White-cheeked Gibbons. The infant’s parents both arrived in October 2013. The first one to make their home at the Zoo was 9-year-old dad, Xian. He was born in Apeldorn, NL, and was sent to Wrocław via the zoo in Pilsen, Czech Republic. A week later, Xian was joined by female, Carusa. She was born in 2006 at the Osnabrück Zoo, Germany. The pair’s first offspring, a male called Dao, was born on October 17, 2014.
The Northern White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) is a species native to South East Asia. It is closely related to the Southern White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus siki), with which it was previously considered conspecific. The females of the two species are virtually indistinguishable in appearance.
The species is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The population, in its natural habitat, is decreasing at a dramatic rate. It has shrunk by nearly a half over only three generations. According to the IUCN: “Nomascus leucogenys has suffered from deforestation through agricultural encroachment into mountainous areas and fuel-wood and timber extraction from remaining forests, especially in China and Viet Nam. Hunting for food, traditional "medicines", and their cultural value is a major threat across the range, and is likely to have been the primary cause for the decline of the species in all three countries, including the presumed extinction of this species in China (Duckworth et al. 1999; Geissmann et al. 2000).”
Northern White-cheeked Gibbons are sexually dimorphic, with males and females having different colorations. Males have black hair over their entire bodies, except for distinct white patches on their cheeks, as well as a prominent tuft of hair on the crown of head. Females are tan in color, lack a cranial tuft, and have a crest of black or dark brown fur running from the crown to the nape of the neck.
The Northern White-cheeked Gibbon is arboreal in habits, and primarily herbivorous, feeding mainly on fruits, with some leaves, buds, and flowers. However, up to 10% of their diet may be composed of insects and other small animals. They are generally sociable, living in groups of up to six individuals.
The species is monogamous, with long-lasting pair bonds. Gestation lasts 200 to 212 days. At birth, both sexes are covered in yellow-buff fur, and weigh an average of 480 g (17 oz). At around one year of age, the fur in both sexes changes to a black color, with pale cheek patches, with the sexually dimorphic adult coats only growing when they reach four or five years.
Northern White-cheeked Gibbons reach sexual maturity at seven or eight years, and are reported to have lived for at least 28 years in the wild.