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|Common Name:||Buff-cheeked gibbon||Family:||Primate|
|Latin Name:||Nomascus gabriellae||Diet:||Herbivore|
|Native To:||Asia||Social Unit:||Group|
|IUCN Red List Status:||Endangered|
Buff-cheeked gibbons at Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo has five 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 baby was born 2 May 2010. As of June 2010, the baby has not yet been sexed.
Our gibbons have recently started training sessions. This training will make it easier for keepers to get the gibbons to go into their indoor enclosure when required. 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.
Where it can be found at Edinburgh Zoo
The buff-cheeked gibbon enclosure can be found to the north-east of the Mansion House in the centre of the park.
Buff-cheeked gibbons 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, and diurnal, which means they are 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. Because of these threats, the population of buff-cheeked gibbons in the wild has been reduced by 50 percent over the past 45 years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the buff-cheeked gibbon as Endangered, meaning that this species is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
Breeding programme category: EEP
IUCN Red List category: Endangered
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