Northern White Cheeked Gibbon Natural History
The average size of this animal is 1.5 to 2 feet and it can weigh almost 13 pounds.
Habitat and Distribution
This primate lives in temperate forests throughout parts of Vietnam and Laos. Much of its range was naturally in China (which gave its other common name of the Chinese White Cheeked Gibbon) however there have been no sightings of this animal in China since 1990 despite extensive surveying work. It is now thus believed to be extinct in its Chinese range.
The average lifespan of this animal in the wild is believed to be around 28 years.
The vast majority of this animals diet is made up of fruits which it will forage for throughout its whole waking day. In smaller amounts it will also feed on some leaves and insects.
Groups and Breeding
This species lives in family groups based around a bonded breeding pair (which will remain together for their whole life). These animals will advertise their territories through singing. New groups form as single animals, which have broken away from their family group or have been the result of a group split due to the death of the parent pair, find their way together to bond as a new pair.
A major contributor to the decline of this species in the wild has been through hunting for food and their use in traditional medicine. However the largest contributor to their decline, as with so many species, has been the deforestation of their natural habitat. The IUCN lists them as a critically endangered species.
It is very easy to tell the difference between males and females of this species. The males are of a very dark colouration over their whole body except for the white tufts of fur around their cheeks (hence their common name). Females on the other hand contrast entirely by having a cream base coat with a black tuft of fur on top of the head, and black skin in the face.
The White Cheeked Gibbon During Your Day Out in Kent
We have Vera, Laos and Pickle (Vera and Laos offspring born 18th September 2012) at Wingham Wildlife Park. Pickle was rejected at birth by her mother and therefore hand reared here at the park during her earlier years. The white cheeked gibbons can be seen in between the tropical house and the birds of prey. Their diet here at the park includes fruit and vegetables (mangos, peppers and sweet potatoes are some of their favourites).