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New dream couple at the zoo

15.04.2017 | 13:22 Clock | Citywhispers
New dream couple at the zoo

Two northern white-cheeked gibbons have moved into the gibbon house

(kus) Finally, life is back in the gibbon house: Frankfurt's male gibbon Jerry has a new partner. Behind the scenes, the two were able to get used to each other for a few weeks. A few days ago they moved into their enclosure at the Großer Weiher.

The almost ten-year-old female gibbon Elliott, born in 2007 at Twycross Zoo in England, came to Frankfurt back in September last year. After surviving the quarantine period, she was able to get used to male gibbon Jerry in complete peace behind the scenes in Ukumari Land.

The 14-year-old male has lived at Frankfurt Zoo since 2007. After the death of his brother Golum and female Kirin in 2015, he was alone.

"A state of affairs we wanted to change as quickly as possible," explains zoo director Manfred Niekisch, "because gibbons live together as pairs. In addition, the species is so highly endangered that offspring are particularly important for building up a stable zoo population. We were therefore very pleased when in July 2016 we received the recommendation from the studbook coordinator in France for the female Elliott. And we are especially pleased that she and Jerry obviously get along very well."

As part of the construction work on the new penguin enclosure, the water level of the Great Pond was lowered significantly. It is not expected to be raised again until mid-summer this year. "Only then," says Niekisch, "will they also be able to use their outdoor facility - two islands in the pond. Without a certain water depth, the animals could escape from their facility. So unfortunately, we will have to wait a little longer for the impressive sight of the swinging gibbons."

Northern white-cheeked gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys) live in the tropical rainforests of Vietnam and Laos. These long-armed primates have evolved a very efficient mode of locomotion. With the help of swinging shimmies, they are able to "fly" up to twelve meters from branch to branch. In the white-cheeked gibbons, the so-called sexual dimorphism is easily recognizable: Males have black fur, while females have light brown to blond coloring. Northern white-cheeked gibbons are acutely threatened with extinction according to the Red List of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The main reasons for this are deforestation of the rainforests and hunting, partly for food and partly for traditional medicine. Another big problem is the international trade with young animals: In order to get hold of the young animals so they can be sold as pets, the mothers are killed.

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