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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

Browsing the Bamboo

When you think ‘edible gardening,’ you usually don’t imagine growing banana trees for elephants. But Bryon Jones does. The lead horticulturalist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has created an entire garden devoted to plants that zoo animals can munch, nibble or chew. It’s usually hidden from public view. But on this Sunday’s free garden … Continued

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Meet Kazu the tapir calf!

UPDATE: Kazu made his public debut Aug. 30. He and Yuna are now viewable in the Asian Forest Sanctuary late morning-early afternoon on weekends. Trotting over green grass. Figuring out stairs. Swimming. A brand-new, exciting world for Kazu the tapir calf is in store this weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, as the seven-week-old … Continued

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Fixing a tiger tooth

If you’re an apex jungle predator, it’s pretty important to have strong teeth. So when Kirana, one of the four Sumatran tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, needed some work on a fractured canine last week, she had a team of 12 veterinarians, veterinary dentists, technicians and keepers to take care of her. “Can … 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.