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White-cheeked gibbon

Did you know?

Nomascus leucogenys

How far can you swing? Gibbons are experts, able to swing themselves from one branch to another up to 9 feet away. In the wild they can travel about a mile a day looking for food.

Discover Gibbons

Wild and zoo
Around 18-25 inches high and 12-20 pounds, white-cheeked gibbons live in tropical and monsoon forest canopies in southeast Asia. Find ours here in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Asian Forest Sanctuary
Meet the Keepers
(Swing along.)
Keepers in our Asian Forest Sanctuary give a talk each day at 12:30 pm – look for the signs in that area to find them. Ask questions about each animal, and find out how our zoo team feeds and cares for them.
See daily schedule

Meet our gibbons

(and predators!)
Gibbons eat what they find in the rainforest – fruits, leaves, buds, flowers, insects, eggs and small young birds.
Their main predators are humans, eagles, owls and leopards.
Mama love
Hold on tight.
After a 7-month pregnancy, females give birth to one baby who clings to its mother, nursing for about a year.
Offspring can stay with their family for up to 10 years, though some leave to form their own.
Sleeping in trees
and making a big noise.
White-cheeked gibbons are arboreal (they sleep in trees) and diurnal (they hunt during the day). The female is dominant.
Pairs bond and mark territory with loud vocals: hoots, squeals, whistles and twitters. Listen out for ours in the early morning!

Protecting gibbons

Where’s my mother?

THE THREAT: Gibbons are critically endangered. They need up to 100 acres to range in for food, but that is being fragmented by human use. And in some places, babies are taken from their mothers and sold as pets.

TAKE ACTION: Much of southeast Asia’s rainforest destruction is to make room for palm oil plantations. Check products you use for sustainable palm oil, and encourage companies to make the switch.

Asian forest stories

Healing with Light

On a cold, wet November morning, veterinary technician Julie Lemon is lying on her stomach on a hard floor. Angling her head, she carefully positions a small metal wand between the hard, pointy toes of a tapir, who’s anesthetized and sleeping soundly in his den. Then she presses a button, and a stream of pink … Continued

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Cho Cho, the Oldest Siamang

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang – probably – in North America? Well, for Cho Cho, snuggled up with his companion Dudlee on a crisp fall morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it seemed pretty cozy. This year Cho Cho is celebrating his 51st birthday – which makes him the oldest … Continued

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We’re expecting a baby tapir!

Endangered Malayan tapirs Yuna and Baku strolled around one of the Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibits on Wednesday afternoon, grazing on grasses – and keeping a secret. Not even the birds perched in the nearby trees would tweet the news. But we can let you in on this uber-exciting development today. Hooray! Hooray! A baby tapir … Continued

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Who's Nearby?
Like our gibbons? Then look for our siamangs! They also swing through the habitats, rotating with the other animals around the Asian Forest Sanctuary.