The new arrival was born to Perth Zoo’s female, ‘Jermei’ and French born father, ‘Tao’ and discovered by zoo keepers on the morning of 21 April.
Perth Zoo’s Primate Supervisor, Holly Thompson, said: “It is always a cause for celebration when an animal is born, but this is even more special as the species are critically endangered and it is currently Year of the Gibbon”.
“Because we have such a good relationship with Jermei and had been able to get close, touch her pregnant belly and monitor her closely, we knew the birth was imminent and were delighted to find a healthy, strong little boy tucked up close to her chest.”
“Although it is still very early days, the infant is suckling, grasping on to his mother and is looking fit and well,” said Holly.
The new arrival is the second offspring for the gibbon couple with the infant joining three year old brother Tiane who has been keeping respectful eye on his new sibling.
This baby is an extremely valuable addition to regional breeding program for white-cheeked gibbons, helping insure against rapidly declining numbers of this small ape species in Vietnam and Laos.
White-cheeked Gibbons are one of the rarest primates in the world with less than 1000 individuals estimated to be remaining in the wild, due to habitat loss, poaching and the illegal pet and wildlife trade.
Perth Zoo are considered world experts in gibbon care, coordinating the pairing and breeding of the 19 White-cheeked Gibbons that live in the Australasian region which provide an insurance against extinction for their wild cousins.
Lucky visitors are beginning to catch glimpses of the blonde new arrival and his family in the Gibbon exhibit located near the Zoo’s Red Pandas.
For visitors wanting to get involved in Year of the Gibbon and help secure a future for this remarkable species, 100% of donations to the Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action Program go towards saving wildlife.