Twycross Zoo’s Curator of Life Sciences, Dr Charlotte Macdonald, recently took a short break from her role to step into her second pair of shoes as Vice-Chair of the Gibbon Taxon Advisory Group (TAG).
Held at the European Association of Zoo’s and Aquaria (EAZA) head office at Aritis Zoo, Amsterdam, the two day meeting was attended by all coordinators of managed breeding programmes of gibbons from across Europe to discuss the conservation and management of gibbons in European Zoos.
Charlotte said: “As one of the leading zoos breeding gibbons in Europe, all of which are endangered or critically endangered in the wild, this is a very important role for us as we are able to help to oversee and progress the management of these species’ in captivity.”
Twycross Zoo cares for six species of gibbon and is dedicated to raising awareness of their plight in the wild, many of which are critically endangered. Last year, Twycross celebrated the 50th birthday of Jane, the lar gibbon, and this year celebrated the birth of a critically endangered Siamang gibbon called Darwin.
Charlotte added: “We focused on the management of the populations of gibbon species in European zoos, prioritising their conservation and discussed links with field projects. This meeting also gave us the opportunity to look towards the future for the various gibbon breeding programmes.”
Twycross Zoo is a supporter of in situ and ex situ conservation projects, including the Cao Vit Gibbon Project which is run in Vietnam by Fauna and Flora International.
Sharon Redrobe, Zoological Director, said: “It’s great that we can support vital conservation work like this out in the field. The Cao Vit gibbon is now listed among the top 25 most endangered primates in the world with fewer than 150 remaining in the wild. We also care for 27 gibbons of six species at Twycross Zoo, and so given their IUCN endangered status our work with gibbons is of great importance to conservation of the species.”