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Buffing up on gibbon conservation
The South African National Biodiversity Institute’s National Zoological Garden (SANBI NZG) is excited to introduce Sylvester, a male buff-cheeked gibbon, which recently arrived from La Teste-de-Buch zoo in France.
Source: Flow Communications and SANBI
After completing his mandatory 30-day quarantine, Sylvester has settled into his new home at the Pretoria zoo. Sylvester plays a vital role in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) ex situ studbook programme, due to his unique genetic lineage. This addition is a significant stride in the conservation of this endangered species. Since 1988, SANBI NZG has actively participated in this programme, contributing 15 offspring. Director of Conservation at NZG Tracy Rehse says, “Sylvester has already been introduced to his carefully selected partner, and there are already promising signs that they have bonded. The current focus at SANBI NZG is to make the pair as happy as possible, and then to let nature take its course. This carefully curated pairing is expected to make a valuable contribution to the continued conservation efforts of this precious species.”
Buff-cheeked gibbons are native to Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Vietnam. They undergo fascinating colour changes in their lifetime. At birth, they’re blonde, but within a year, their fur turns a striking black. Males keep their black fur throughout their lives, with distinct golden cheeks. Females return to blonde as they reach sexual maturity, except for a black ‘cap’ atop their heads. Tracy emphasises, “The arrival of Sylvester at SANBI NZG marks a remarkable milestone in our ongoing commitment to conservation efforts. By participating in the EAZA ex situ studbook programme and facilitating successful breeding, we aim to safeguard the future of the buff-cheeked gibbon species.”