Swing a song with the gibbons
Thursday 14 October 2004
With mesmerising calls which can be heard for miles around Jimmy the white-cheeked gibbon is one of London Zoo's more out-going characters
Gibbons are sadly endangered in the rainforests of south-east Asia, due to deforestation, hunting and the illegal pet trade.
Gibbons have fascinated people for centuries because of their amazing ability to swing through trees in the rainforest. They have long arms, which hang down as low as their feet, and very long hands, with flexible thumbs. They can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour when swinging through the trees, bridging gaps of up to 50 feet!
You can see our white-cheeked gibbon, Jimmy, who is 14 and his son Yoda, who is four at London Zoo. Yoda's mother Lucy, recently moved to Edinburgh Zoo as part of an inter-zoo breeding programme. Soon, keepers hope to find another mate for Jimmy, of the same sub-species, leucogenus gibbon.
Both Jimmy and Yoda love swinging and playing in their enclosure, and their keepers regularly change the layout of the branches and ropes that they play on to keep life interesting for them. They also call to each other in a beautiful bird-like duet, which is important as it strengthens the bond between family members.
Their favourite foods are sweet fruits like grapes and bananas, but at London Zoo, they also eat pellet feed, vegetables and apples. In the wild they would also eat small birds and eggs and even insects.
Come and see them swinging and playing the primate enclosures on your next visit to London Zoo.