For Release: February 4, 2008
Pamela Baker-Masson (202) 633-3055
Lainie Contreras (202) 633-3055
Veterinarians at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo euthanized a male white-cheeked gibbon Saturday, Feb. 2. The 35-year-old gibbon, Bert, had been under close observation and treatment for diabetes-related health concerns.
Born at the National Zoo, Bert, together with his mate for more than three decades, Mae, produced several offspring: two males, Milo (1997) and Milton (1999), are still living at the Zoo. Known for their early morning singing, female and male gibbons emit loud vocalizations that result in complex duets between pairs. The National Zoo is home to four groups of white-cheeked gibbons.
Gibbons live an estimated 25 to 30 years in the wild, and documentation to date has shown that they can live as long as 40 years in captivity. Due to habitat loss, primarily deforestation, gibbons are thought to be endangered, but the World Conservation Union has insufficient data to formally list the species as such on its “Red List.” White-cheeked gibbons are found in Laos, Vietnam and southern China in evergreen tropical rainforests and monsoon forests. For more information about gibbons, visit http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Primates/Facts/
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