Birth of a Buff-checked Gibbon
Our young Buff-checked Gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) born during the lockdown has just turned 2! The young was hitherto hidden against his mother's chest, but it’s becoming more and more active and its appearance has already changed: the face has darkened and the fur is thickening day by day.
The Buff-checked Gibbons belong to the genus Nomascus which includes 7 species. All present a sexual dimorphism with light fur for females and black for males.
The female gives birth to a single young with light hair after 7 months of gestation. Around the age of 6 months, the young’s fur begins to darken. It will become completely black if it is a male and turn light again if it is a female!
Along with gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and humans, Gibbons belong to the superfamily of Hominoidea. Like the great apes, Gibbons do not have tails. They can live beyond 50 years, reach their sexual maturity late (between 6 and 8 years old) and births are spaced apart from each other because the young gibbons remain dependent on their mother for several years. Along with the Siamangs, the Gibbons are called the “lesser apes”.
They feed mainly on fruits, leaves and flowers. Male and female form a duo who sing in unison to mark their territory, strengthen their relationships or signal the presence of a predator. Their movement in the trees, called brachiation, is fascinating: at full speed, they remain suspended in the air for a few thousandths of seconds, none of their hand being in contact with the branches!
Listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List, Buff-checked Gibbons are threatened by the destruction of their habitat and hunting for the illegal pet trade.