White-cheeked Gibbon

ZOO LOCATION: Monkey Pavilion

Lifespan: Up to 25 years

Wild Diet: Pulpy fruit, buds, leaves, flowers, shoots and insects

Zoo Diet: Fruits, vegetables, some meat and monkey chow

Predators: none

SSP: yes

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Habitat/Range: The higher canopy of tropical rainforests of Northern Laos, northwestern Vietnam, southeastern China and eastern Cambodia; including primary and mature secondary forests.

Characteristics: White-cheeked gibbons can weigh up to 12.5 lbs. Their body length is 18-25 in. and they have extremely long arms and legs. The male has coarse black fur and skin with white fir on their cheeks and a pronounced crest of hair on the crown of its head. The female of this species is more golden and buff colored with a black face and dark fur on the top of its head but no crest of hair on its head.

Behavior: Family members are observed to feed together when food is plentiful, but otherwise they forage alone. They come together occasionally to groom and sleep. Confrontations occur frequently at territorial boundaries. This entails calling, acrobatic displays and when necessary, males chase intruders. The average home range for these gibbons is about 8.5 acres.

Reproduction: Every 2-3 years, after a gestation of 210-240 days, females give birth to one offspring. Weaning occurs early in the second year, and they fully mature at about 6 years. Infants are born with a whitish buff coat which turns black after about 2 years. At sexual maturity, males turn black and females turn the reddish buff color. Young males leave the family group around 8 years of age.

Conservation: Critically Endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The species has declined by at least 80% over the past 45 years (three generations), due primarily to hunting and habitat loss.