White-cheeked gibbons live in rainforest canopy habitat in Laos, southern China and Vietnam. They are largely frugivorous (fruit-eating) but also eat leaves and small invertebrates.
- Brachiation: to move by swinging with the arms from one hold to another. Gibbons move through the trees canopy by brachiation.
Gibbon behavior and facts
- Gibbons have long arms and short thumbs, both ideal for brachiation.
- Their intelligence has been tested and ranks between monkeys and great apes.
- Gibbons are diurnal (active during the day) and arboreal (living in trees).
- Newborns are blond and juveniles are black. Females are blonde at sexual maturity and males are black with white cheeks.
- They live in family groups, usually consisting of an adult breeding pair, a juvenile offspring and an infant.
- A breeding pair develops a unique "duet" where each one contributes a note to their song. The song is sung in the early morning to strengthen the pair's bond and establish their territory; keeping other gibbons away. Gibbons use a different song when they encounter predators.
From birth to death
- Gibbons are monogamous: they have just one mate throughout their life.
- Females give birth to one infant.
- The young are nursed for 2 years. The male assists with care of the young, and so do older juveniles.
- Females give birth every 2 to 3 years.
- The young leave the group at 8 years old when they reach sexual maturity.
- Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
- Height: 18 to 25 inches
- Weight: 12 to 20 pounds
- US Endangered
- CITES App I - due to habitat destruction
- studbook participant
Gibbons, the Oregon Zoo and you
The zoo's white-cheeked gibbons live in the Red Ape Reserve exhibit. The daily diet: monkey chow, fruits and vegetables.
They are critically endangered due to hunting and loss of habitat. Their forest homes have been cleared for farming and firewood.
Did you know?
White-cheeked gibbons swing from branch to branch for distances of up to 50 feet, at speeds as high as 35 mph, making them the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals.