The Forgotten Apes

Thu 13th May

Paradise Wildlife Park comes together today to celebrate Ethan our Northern White Cheek Gibbon!

Ethan has been with us here at Paradise Wildlife Park the Zoological Society of Hertfordshire since 2011 and has thrived living with two females Newt and Ripley. As a group, they are always up to mischief in their habitat and love nothing more than showing off for our keepers and visitors. The northern white-cheeked gibbon, part of the ape family is classed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). With no records of sightings of this species in China since 1990, there is increasing fear that this species may have already become extinct in parts of its wild range. Thus Ethan, whom you are able to adopt with us, is not only extremely special to us here at the Park but also plays an important role as an ambassador for his wild counterparts who have faced deforestation and capture for traditional medicines. Northern white-cheeked gibbons have seen a species’ population decline by 80 percent or more over the past 45 years. With only a handful of this species expected to be remaining within the forests of South East Asia, the northern white-cheek gibbon has become the forgotten Apes of the world.

Through Ethan’s unique energetic personality, he consistently makes sure the team and visitors know his presence in the park and definitely makes sure he’s not forgotten. Like all other gibbons, northern white-cheeked gibbons possess exceptionally long arms, these are used to swing through the treetops at high and efficient speeds and can cover more than ten feet in a single swing between branches. Their arms are so long, they are even used for balance when walking bipedally, they do this by placing their arms above their heads. Ethan often swings fast through his habitat and walks bipedally very quickly on his ropes showing off his skills to Newt and Ripley as well as, our visitors. Ethan especially is a very enthusiastic gibbon, who loves to sing as loud as possible in the early hours of the mornings. Within their wild habitats, each morning adult gibbons sing extremely loud to warn rivals of their territory and to reaffirm the bond within the group. Ethan himself is known as the alarm clock of the Park as when Ethan sings his calls can be heard throughout the Park far and wide for everyone to know the day is about to begin.

As a species the gibbon’s diet is not entirely known, scientists believe their diets mostly consist of mainly fruit, flowers, and leaves with a small proportion of their diet coming from insects. For Ethan, when it comes to food, he definitely has his favourites! These being corn on the cob and cucumber which he always chooses first from all his foods. He has also taken to sitting as high as possible in his habitat and can often be found watching all our visitors as they go around the Park. Ethan has missed all our visitors and has been very excited to welcome everyone back to the Park. He will often come down to say hello to everyone who walks past his habitat. Next time you are visiting don’t forget to say a big hello to Ethan.

Ethan is an embodiment of the need for protection and conservation of all species.

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