Mierlo, September 6, 2022 - A white-cheeked gibbon was born on September 1 in Dierenrijk, a zoo in The Netherlands. The white-cheeked gibbon, found in China, Laos and Vietnam, is a critically endangered monkey species in the wild.
In the wild, this gibbon species is mainly found in the tops of high jungle trees. The greatest threat to these animals is humans. They are widely hunted for food and for the preparation of traditional medicines. In addition, a lot of habitat is disappearing due to the felling of trees and increasing agriculture.
European management program
There is therefore a European management program for this gibbon species. In this way zoos ensure a healthy reserve population. The birth of this gibbon in Dierenrijk also falls under this program. Stephan Rijnen is therefore very happy with this birth: "We are happy to be able to contribute in this way to the preservation of this species."
In addition, Dierenrijk also supports Association Anoulak through the Wildlife Foundation. This organization focuses on biodiversity research, anti-poaching patrols, education and support of the local population. They focus on various plant and animal species in the area, including the white-cheeked gibbon.
It is the second time that a white-cheeked gibbon has been born in Dierenrijk. Father Eric and mother Kanette became parents of Jaya in 2018. Rijnen says: "Both the parents and Jaya and the newborn young are doing well. With this birth, four white-cheeked gibbons now live in the park."
Flexible singers and singers
Gibbons can almost always be found in the trees and they rarely come to the ground. These animals have long arms and the joints in their shoulders and wrists are very flexible. They can rotate their arms 360 degrees without letting go of a branch. Because they have such long arms and flexible joints, they can swing distances of about three meters between trees. In addition, these monkeys can also walk through the trees. They do this upright with their arms above their heads or to the side to maintain their balance.
“This gibbon species marks their territory by singing. The sound can be heard up to three kilometers away,” says Rijnen. “They also sing to seduce others and to strengthen the bond with each other. In addition, they also let each other know where they are in this way, because in the tropical rainforest they can hear each other better than they can see each other.”
The gibbons are born with a light brown coat and after about one year it turns black. The coat color of the females becomes light brown again at the age of five to six years, when they are sexually mature. From this age, the males and females can therefore be distinguished from each other by these color differences. As the name suggests, both the males and females have white cheeks.
This monkey species lives in a group of two to six animals. The group consists of one family: a man, woman and their boy. Gibbons are one of the few monkey species where the male and female remain loyal to each other. These animals can have young all year round and they give birth to one young about every two to three years. The young feed on their mothers until they are about two years old and around the age of four or five they really mature. When they are five or six years old, the gibbons can have young themselves. At that point, they leave their family to start a new group of their own.