Adorable Endangered Gibbon Celebrates Fifth Birthday At Swiss Zoo And Is Set For Trip To England
These images show Qiwen, an adorable endangered gibbon at a Swiss zoo who may soon be making her way to England.
The pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus) was born on 6th December 2016 to Khmer, a 37-year-old male, and to Willow, a 34-year-old female and she has just celebrated her fifth birthday at Zurich Zoo in northern Switzerland.
The species is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Endangered Species and the zoo said: “Since the birth of Qiwen’s grandmother Iba 47 years ago, the wild cap gibbon population has been reduced by around two thirds. The main threat to capped gibbon populations is hunting and the fragmentation and destruction of their natural habitat.”
But the zoo said that despite being threatened in the wild, Qiwen has a big family at the zoo, saying: “Qiwen’s family has been living at Zurich Zoo for some time. Grandmother Iba came to the zoo from Thailand in 1982.
“Two years later, Khmer, Qiwen’s father was born. Over the years, new family members came, while others left the zoo to start their own families in other zoos. Today, as well as Qiwen, her sisters Nyanyi (2013) and Srey (2018) and her brother Laju (2011) live in Zurich. Nyanyi lives in the facility next door with Akio, a male from England. Laju lives in the facility in the lower part of the ape house together with Lawa (2011), an aunt, as a companion.”
But Qiwen might soon be making tracks and heading to England, with the zoo saying: “Qiwen has developed very well in recent years and is slowly but surely growing up. It also means that she would naturally leave her family soon.
“Therefore, she will probably leave Zurich Zoo next year for England, where she can start her own family.”
The zoo said that of all the great apes, “gibbons have the longest arms compared to their body size.”
They added that the animals can “swing nimbly under the branches” because the tendons in their hands are short and “this means that the fingers are automatically bent when the arm is outstretched”. This in turn enables the gibbons to grip branches without having to exert themselves.
Gibbons stand out from other great apes, such as chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas, in that they lack a tail.