White-cheeked gibbon in exhibit

White-cheeked Gibbon

Scientific Name

Nomascus leucogenys

Class

Mammalia

Order

Primates

Range

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

Habitat

Rainforests and mountain forests

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
White-cheeked gibbon in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

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Physical Description

White-cheeked gibbons were named after the white patch of fur surrounding their mouth and chin. Like other gibbons, they are known as small apes due to their relatively diminuitive body size compared to great apes, such as western lowland gorillas or even humans. They can reach up to 25 inches in height and weigh approximately 12 pounds. They have extremely long arms and legs that are adapted to moving through trees but, like all apes, white-cheeked gibbons do not have tails.

Interesting Fact 1

These tree-dwellers use a highly specialized mode of locomotion called brachiation—instead of grasping at branches with their fingers, their hands form a loose hook around branches, enabling them to swing through the trees using a hand-over-hand motion.

Interesting Fact 2

At dawn, pairs defend their territory with loud ritualized duets that last around 10 minutes.

Interesting Fact 3

All white-cheeked gibbons are born with blonde fur that starts to turn black within the first year of life. When they reach adulthood, however, males remain black while females change back to blonde.

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We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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