The playful siamang & white-cheeked gibbons love to climb and swing on their island oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
In the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is an island oasis with a tower structure, ropes and platforms. This habitat is home to the Park’s playful siamang & white-cheeked gibbons. Gibbons are relatively small primates native to the warm climates of southeastern Asian rainforests. White-cheeked gibbons (identified by puffs of white fur on their faces) are generally found in Vietnam and Laos, while the larger siamangs call Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia home.
At Walt Disney World, both varieties stay active in a shared dwelling of bamboo beams, ropes, ladders, towers, and live trees. They also keep their foraging skills sharp by searching out their favorite snacks, like fresh fruits and vegetables, leaves, and shoots that animal care experts have hidden in hanging buckets and burlap bags.
Did you know?
Gibbons mate for life! Each pair creates a special love song of calls that is unique to the couple. (Listen as you view the video above.) Their special whooping sounds can be projected at high volume by filling an inflatable throat sac, or flap of skin, on their necks with air. These loud calls can be heard from great distances, enabling the animals to communicate with their families and mark their territory by using sound. As a parent, there have been many times I’ve wished humans had this ability too!
Another interesting feature of the gibbon is that their fur changes color as they mature. All gibbon babies are born with the golden blonde fur of the mother to help them blend in to her coloration while they are a juvenile being carried. Gradually, the gold fur of both male and female juveniles darkens to black like the father. If a white-cheeked gibbon is male, he will remain black with fuzzy white cheeks; however, a female’s fur will return to its original golden tint when she reaches maturity, at around 5 to 7 years of age.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists siamangs as endangered and white-cheeked gibbons as critically endangered. Their populations in the wild are dwindling due to habitat loss, hunting, and illegal wildlife trade. Throughout the years, the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) has contributed more than $45 million to support conservation programs in 115 countries. This support includes programs that empower rural communities throughout southeastern Asia to protect gibbons and other apes facing similar threats. On the homefront, the Walt Disney Company adheres to a paper sourcing and use policy across all of its entities to minimize paper consumption and eliminate paper sourced irresponsibly and from areas of high conservation value.
Remember this chart we looked at last week:
Today, look for ways you can help reduce the threat to gibbons in the wild or that you can contribute to groups working to protect these beautiful animals. Here are some suggestions:
- Buy recycled paper products to reduce deforestation.
- Purchase chocolate, coffee, and other rainforest-friendly products that benefit such conservation efforts.
- Reduce hardwood forest destruction buy purchasing responsibly-grown bamboo products. Bamboo is a sturdy, fast-growing, and sustainable source of wood for home furnishings.
Visit the websites below to learn more ways you can make a difference:
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Biology, Conservation, Life Science, Zoology
SKILL LEVEL: All
Playful siamang & white-cheeked gibbons thrive on their island oasis at Disney\’s Animal Kingdom Park.
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