On Saturday 24th October, Twycross Zoo will be celebrating International Gibbon Day. 2015 was named the “Year of the Gibbon” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a bid to raise awareness of the threats Gibbons face, as it is feared they will be one of the next group of animals to face global extinction in the wild.
Renowned as a centre of excellence in primate care, we have one of the widest range of Gibbon species throughout Europe. We are an important contributor to endangered breeding programmes to help conserve the species of Gibbon in its care, whose populations are under serious threat in the wild. We are the home of four different species of Gibbon; Agile Gibbons, Pileated Gibbons and Siamangs are all endangered species, and we have a family of Northern White Cheeked Gibbons, which are critically endangered in the wild. Each of these groups will be moving into a brand new Gibbon Forest exhibit, which is currently under construction and will be opening early in the New Year.
Dr Charlotte Macdonald, Director of Life Sciences at the Zoo and Chair of the Gibbon Taxon Advisory Group for the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, says: “Gibbons are very close to my heart and I’m immensely proud of the work that Twycross Zoo is doing to conserve them. Our visitors love coming to see them, because they are loud, mischievous, and great fun to observe playing, singing and grooming. However, we also want visitors to understand that these apes are under serious threat in the wild. Our new exhibit will allow people to view life as a Gibbon, swinging through the trees overhead as they would in the forests of Asia. Sadly, it is the destruction of these forests that is contributing to their rapidly declining numbers.”
Dr Macdonald continues, “We have had a fantastic year at Twycross Zoo, welcoming many new baby animals into the world, plus the arrival of some very tall ones too! The zoo is going from strength to strength and we are very grateful to our visitors for their show of support every time they visit.”