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Animals & Attractions

Buff-cheeked Gibbon

We are home to six buff-cheeked gibbons. We have two females: Lucy, who was born in November 1996, and her daughter Lea, who was born in January 2003.  They both came to us in September 2004 from London Zoo.  They were soon joined by an adult male, Jon, who was born May 2000.  He arrived from Ljubljana Zoo, Slovenia in February 2005.   Lucy and Jon became proud parents to a healthy son, called Cheeky, in February 2006, and another son called Lloyd was born 2 May 2010. 

In May 2013 we were delighted by the birth of another baby gibbon, who is yet to be sexed and named.  

You can often hear our gibbons’ “song” in the early morning; it is a distinct and unmistakeable mix of long, high-pitched whoops and twitters.

 

Location in the Zoo

Our gibbons can be found in the gibbon enclosure near the Mansion House

Breeding Programme Category

Our gibbons are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP)

Find out more

Status

Not Endangered NE
Data Deficient DD
Least Concern LC
Near Threatened NT
Vulnerable VU
Endangered EN
Critically Endangered CR
Extinct in the wild EW
Extinct EX

Endangered

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredist.org

Size

Relative to 6ft (2m) man Relative to 6ft (2m) man

Population

Population is decreasing, IUCN June 2008

Habitat

  • Mountains

    Mountains

Diet

Omnivore Omnivore
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In The Wild

The buff-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) is native to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It lives in tall evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, but sometimes also ranges into mixed bamboo and woodland forest. Like other gibbon species, buff-cheeked gibbons are arboreal, meaning they live in the trees, they are also active during the day.

Male and female gibbons are virtually the same size, although the different sexes can be easily told apart when they are adults due to the colour of the hair. Baby gibbons of both sexes are born blonde to blend into their mother’s hair and later turn black. Males remain black throughout their lives, with the distinguishing golden cheeks that give the species their name. Females, however, then turn back to blonde at sexual maturity, and only have a black cap of hair on the top of their heads.

Buff-cheeked gibbons feed mainly on fruit and leaves. They are highly territorial and use their musical calls to mark their territory. Gibbons also provide one of the few examples of true monogamy among the mammals – they live in small groups, which usually consist of a mated pair and their offspring.

Buff-cheeked gibbons face many threats in the wild. The foremost threat is human hunting of this species for meat and the pet trade. Habitat destruction due to deforestation, logging, and agricultural expansion are further threats to this species.

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