White-cheeked gibbon

Latin Name
Nomascus leucogenys

Class
Mammals

Order
Primates

Description

Although gibbons are apes, they are known as lesser, or small, apes. They can reach 18–25 inches in height and weigh up to 12.5 pounds. They have extremely long arms and legs.

Gibbons are unique in that infants are born with blonde fur like their mother, but by age 2 their color turns to black.  When they reach adulthood, males remain black and females change back to blonde.


 

Range

Laos, Vietnam, Hainan, southeastern China and eastern Cambodia.


Status

This species of gibbons is considered to be critically endangered, as wild populations have declined by at least 80 percent over the past 45 years due primarily to habitat loss and hunting.

Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Gibbon Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo also financially contributes to gibbon field-conservation efforts to support the longevity of this species.


Habitat

High canopy of tropical rain forests.


Niche

White-cheeked gibbons are frugivorous and spend most of their time in the forest canopy searching for fruit. Leaves are another important food item for gibbons as well as flowers, leaf buds and shoots, and insects.


Life History

A single offspring is born about every two–three years after a seven-month gestation period. Infants are weaned after age 2, and sexual maturity is reached by about 6 years of age. Young males will typically leave their family group after eight years.


Special Adaptations

Gibbons are adapted for an arboreal lifestyle and use a highly specialized mode of locomotion called brachiation. Instead of grasping, their hands form a loose hook around branches, enabling them to swing through the trees using a hand-over-hand motion.

Gibbons live in small family groups made up of a mated pair and their young offspring.  Every morning, the male and female will perform a ritualized vocal duet to advertise their territory to other gibbon groups. 



Bonus Content

Gibbon Baby and Mom
Have you seen the baby white-cheeked gibbon yet at the Helen Brach Primate House? The little one—born August 16—is wowing visitors and clinging tightly to mom Burma.

New Arrivals 2014
It has been a busy year at Lincoln Park Zoo so far! Here we highlight the newest species living and growing under the zoo's care.

White-cheeked gibbon baby Daxin prepares to nurse at the Helen Brach Primate House.

Juggling Four Babies
Looking back at a busy year, Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy shares how you care—and prepare—for four zoo babies: gorillas Patty and Nayembi, Francois’ langur Pierre and white-cheeked gibbon Daxin.

White-cheeked gibbon Caruso was among the top dads featured on Father's Day

Father's Day Slideshow
As people celebrated dads of all shapes and sizes, we took a look at some of the top fathers at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Fond Memories
Take a look back to highlight some of the many animals who have created great memories for zoo visitors and staff alike. 

 


Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit