Chattanooga Zoo Welcomes New Species

Friday, September 20, 2019
The new Northern White-cheeked Gibbons at the Chattanooga Zoo
The new Northern White-cheeked Gibbons at the Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo welcomes Northern White-cheeked Gibbons to the Himalayan Passage exhibit area this fall. The new species is being housed in the prior Francois Langur habitat neighboring the Snow Leopards.

Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, the Chattanooga Zoo partnered with another accredited institution to rehome its bachelor group of Francois Langurs, leaving an empty, spacious habitat, which allowed the acquisition of the Gibbons. Through the SSP, the Zoo received two adult Northern White-cheeked Gibbons, one male, and one female.

The SSP is a population management and conservation program created by the AZA to ultimately enhance the preservation of threatened species in the wild by strictly monitoring the placement, breeding, and propagation within AZA-accredited institutions of those selected species.

In the interim time of not having animals housed in this habitat, the Chattanooga Zoo staff has updated and tailored the existing habitat to the needs of the new Zoo residents, including the addition of more ropes and platforms, conforming to the species’ brachial movements and naturalistic behaviors.

“The addition of this species is indicative of our commitment to preserving animals in the wild,” says Dardenelle Long, Chattanooga Zoo CEO and president. “We are excited to participate in an additional SSP program and add a new dynamic, and adorable, species to our collection here at the zoo.”

The Northern White-Cheeked Gibbon is a diurnal small ape native to Asia. They are frugivorous species, though they also consume leaves, insects, and flowers and are the smallest of the apes, averaging around 12 pounds in weight and 18-25 inches in height. Gibbons are some of the most endangered apes - the Northern White-cheeked Gibbon is currently listed as critically endangered by the IUNC Red List of Threatened Species - with deforestation and loss of biodiversity as contributors to its population decline. 

The Northern White-Cheeked Gibbons are now in their habitat, viewable by the public.

For more information, please contact the Chattanooga Zoo at 697-1322 x 5703 or hhammon@chattzoo.org.


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