'Special moment' as endangered gibbon born at Twycross Zoo in bid to save the species

The gibbon infant has not yet been named. Credit: Twycross Zoo

A gibbon has been born at Twycross Zoo in a bid to save the species from extinction.

The female infant, who has not yet been given a name, was born to mother Valentina, who is 25-years-old and 43-year-old father Helmut.

Both Helmut and Valentina are very important individuals within the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP) for pileated gibbons, due to their genetics.

The programme, which runs across zoos in Europe and is coordinated by Twycross Zoo, consists of just 56 individuals. Its mission is to conserve a healthy population of the species in zoos.

The baby gibbon has been attached to its mum since it was born. Credit: Twycross Zoo

The pileated gibbon species is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is native to Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.

The animals are sexually dimorphic (different) - males are black with white hands, feet and face crest, while females are white-grey with a black cap and chest.

The species faces a number of threats in the wild, most critically deforestation and habitat loss, as wild forest is converted into farmland or used for human developments. They are are also at risk from hunting and the pet trade.

Twycross Zoo’s pileated gibbons live along three other gibbon species in their Gibbon Forest habitat.

The baby gibbon is being carefully looked over by the zoo’s team of expert keepers & veterinarians. Credit: Twycross Zoo

The new arrival still spends all her time with her mum, but is becoming increasingly aware of her surroundings.

The baby will remain with her parents for several more years as she grows and develops.

Lynsey Bugg, the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP) coordinator for the pileated gibbon, said: “We’re delighted to announce the birth of a pileated gibbon at Twycross Zoo."

"It’s always a special moment when we welcome any new arrival and this birth is incredibly important as part of the pileated gibbon EEP, which is dedicated to protecting future populations of the species, who continue to face severe threats in the wild."

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