Rare white-cheeked gibbon born at Lincoln Park Zoo - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Rare white-cheeked gibbon born at Lincoln Park Zoo

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The baby boom is in full swing at Lincoln Park Zoo's Helen C. Brach Primate House, with the birth of a bouncing baby white-cheeked gibbon. The exciting new arrival follows the birth of a Francois langur just over a month ago.

Born on August 16, the gibbon is the fourth offspring for father Caruso and mother Burma, who are recommended to breed by the Gibbon Species Survival Program (SSP). The baby has yet to be sexed or named and joins older brother, Sai, who will turn three years old in January.

"Burma is holding the baby close and showing every sign of being a great mom," said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. "The youngster is bright, alert, and clinging well."

According to Leahy, Caruso and Sai are keeping their distance to allow mom and infant to bond. Gibbons, who are thought to mate for life, remain in family groups until offspring reach sexual maturity and migrate out on their own. Unlike other primates who might share the workload associated with an infant, white-cheeked gibbon mothers are the primary caretakers of their offspring.

White-cheeked gibbons are a species of small ape native to Southeast Asia and are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. They have extremely long arms that are perfect for hanging and swinging from branch to branch. At birth the infants are born with golden tan fur like their mothers. They will darken to black during their first two years; males will remain black with signature white cheeks and females will eventually turn tan once more.

"The baby may be hard to spot for the first few weeks, as he or she is being held tightly by mom. But it likely will not be long before the baby starts exploring the habitat with his or her big brother," said Leahy.

Burma, her baby, and the whole gibbon family can be seen daily at the Helen C. Brach Primate House from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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