One of the world’s rarest apes, a White-cheeked Gibbon has been introduced to the public today to celebrate World Environment Day.

Primate Supervisor, Holly Thompson, said: “This birth is very important. The species are exceptionally rare and listed as critically endangered.”

“Perth Zoo is just one of three zoos within Australasia currently breeding the species to prevent extinction.”

Born on 15 May to experienced mother, Jermei, visiting public have been treated to a glimpse of the newborn from the viewing area of the exhibit due to Jermei’s calm nature and confidence.

“Whilst we give mother and baby the space to bond, we haven’t yet determined if it is a male or female, but it has been seen suckling and is strong and healthy – we couldn’t be happier.”

“Younger brother Canh is fascinated by his new sibling but Jermei has had to temper his enthusiasm when he gets a little bit over excited. It’s a lovely family dynamic to watch.”

The species are in peril due to habitat loss and the effects of the illegal pet trade.

“Although gibbon babies are adorable, wildlife do not make good pets,” said Holly. “To care for a gibbon takes skill and expertise and nothing can replace a natural upbringing and mother’s love which Jermei demonstrates at Perth Zoo.”

Perth Zoo are considered world experts at gibbon husbandry and are often called upon to consult regionally and internationally to assist other zoos caring for the species.

Apart from breeding the gibbons to help prevent extinction, Perth Zoo also helps save the species in the wild.

“We partner with Fauna and Flora International to help safeguard one of the last strongholds of species the in Vietnam,” said Holly. “Thanks to community donations, we’ve been able to fund monitoring points in Pu Mat National Park to get much needed data on the Northern White-cheeked Gibbon.”

“This is desperately needed as conservationists do not know how few gibbons remain in the wild.”

“We’ve also supported programs to educate more than 700 people living around the park about the rare ape which share their environment.

“It truly is a global approach to saving wildlife and made possible thanks to the Perth community’s support,” said Holly.