A new arrival for Fuengirola Bioparc
Published on: 04-10-2017

Quote: ‘There is no ethical sense in keeping wild animals in captivity unless this helps to preserve their species in the natural world’

Such is the philosophy of the Fuengirola Bioparc, which since its inauguration in 2001, has become one of the leading centres for conservation in Spain, if not the world. The Bioparc participates in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria conservation programme and just this month had a notable success: the first birth in Spain of a golden-cheeked gibbon. Born to mother Ares and father Den, who arrived from Bratislava Zoo in 2012, it is worth noting that, rarely amongst primates, gibbons are monogamous and mate for life. In the wild, family troops consisting of mother, father and offspring will patrol the jungle as a unit until the youngsters are old enough to fend for themselves and leave the family group.

The ‘new addition’ can be seen clinging fast to its mother as she swings through the branches and trees of the artificial jungle. The baby is the same colour as its mother and is still too young to tell whether it is male or female. It will continue to cling to her until around six months of age, the strong grip its demonstrating being an encouraging sign of a healthy baby. Golden-cheeked gibbons all begin life with the same blonde-coloured fur as their mothers but will darken as they get older. At around the age of three, mature males will be black, with the females reverting to their golden colour as they reach maturity.

Native to South East Asia, there are seventeen species of gibbon, with this one hailing from the jungles of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Sadly, this is an endangered species with the largest known group of these gibbons in Cambodia numbering just 2,500—emphasising the importance of the conservation work being done at the excellent Fuengirola Bioparc.