Blackpool Zoo celebrates birth of endangered pileated gibbon

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Baby pileated gibbonImage source, Blackpool Zoo
Image caption,
There are only 14 pileated gibbons in the UK

Keepers at Blackpool Zoo are celebrating the birth of an endangered species of gibbon.

The arrival of a baby pileated gibbon is "hugely important news" for both the zoo and the species said Senior Primate Keeper Charlotte Pennie.

There are just 14 of the species in UK zoos with only two breeding pairs, said a zoo spokeswoman.

Pileated gibbons hail from eastern Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and are officially classed as endangered.

Parents Ivy and Chamoa have also produced two male gibbons called Dobbie and Iwani who live with them in the small primate house.

Ms Pennie added: "Ivy is doing a fantastic job of caring for the youngster, which she will carry on her chest for around six months before it starts to explore its surroundings.

"We have been unable to tell what sex the baby is as yet so it really is a case of the keepers keeping a close eye on them both during these next few months.

''Just wonderful'

"We're hoping for a little girl after two beautiful boys."

Ms Pennie also said "Ivy is 31 and has been with us for 26 years. We almost lost her ten years ago when she became very ill, so for her to recover and go onto have three healthy babies is just wonderful."

One of the lesser apes, pileated gibbons form monogamous breeding pairs and have a diet of fruits, leaves and small animals.

They are classed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature with the main threat resulting from habitat destruction.

Both male and female animals typically have a white circular streak around the crown and sides of their head, hence the name "pileated," which means "capped."

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