We are delighted to welcome Qiwen, a female Pileated Gibbon from Zurich Zoo, to our Colchester Zoo family!

Qiwen arrived on Wednesday 17th May 2023 from Zurich Zoo, following a breeding recommendation. The 6 year old female has joined our male Pileated Gibbon, Lae, who is 17 years old. Her first 3 days were spent inside the main Gibbon house, separated from Lae, to give her time to settle into her new surroundings after a long journey. Lae was instantly intrigued by his new partner and spent the majority of his time watching her from the window separating them. On Monday 22nd May, Lae was given access to one half of the Gibbon house which allowed the pair to see each other through a barrier of mesh.

Although Lae was keen to meet his new partner, Qiwen was a little shy. However, later in the day, Qiwen’s confidence grew and she began showing more interest in her male companion. Following this positive interaction, Qiwen was given the chance to investigate the outdoor area on her own the next day. She seemed to have taken a real liking to Lae as she would return to the Gibbon house regularly, to check that Lae was still there. It is important the Gibbons are introduced within a week or so of a new animal arriving so our Animal Care Team followed the advice given from Zurich.

As our Animal Care Team had not observed any negative behaviours, it was decided that the two would be introduced in the outside area on Saturday 24th May. The pair are now together all of the time and are seen getting closer each day. Although it can take years for Gibbons to bond, the pair have been seen grooming each other which is very positive for the future.

The captive Pileated Gibbon population in Europe is managed as a European Breeding Programme for Endangered Species, also known as an EEP, and this transfer is a result of a recommendation made by the EEP coordinator. The European Breeding Programme is vital for the conservation of this species in captivity. The EEP is run by a single coordinator who then made our recommendation by close monitoring of the captive population and the population genetics.

Be sure to see our pair of Pileated Gibbons on your next visit at Wilds of Asia!

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