Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Go absolutely ape over gibbons—they’re the acrobatic aces of the rainforest!
These playful primates call the treetops home but you don’t have to trek into the forest to find them.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Spot 2 distinctive species of gibbons, siamangs and white-cheeked, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park near the entrances to Kali River Rapids and Maharajah Jungle Trek. You may notice some of the white-cheeked gibbons for their white fur on their cheeks and the siamangs for their large size—they can be twice the size of other gibbons.
Gibbons in the Wild
Gibbons live in the warm climates of the southeastern Asian rainforest. Siamangs call Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia home. White-cheeked gibbons are generally found in Vietnam and Laos.
Threats to Gibbons
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists siamangs as “endangered” and white-cheeked gibbons as “critically endangered.” Gibbon populations have suffered from habitat loss, hunting and the illegal wildlife trade.
Disney Conservation Efforts
The Walt Disney Company is passionately committed to the conservation of gibbons, their primate relatives across the globe and the rainforest habitats they rely on. Find out what Disney is doing for gibbons and how you can help, too!”
“Disney’s Animal Kingdom creates an incredible experience where you’re really engaging with animals and conservation. You walk away feeling a special connection with animals and nature.” – Djuan Rivers, VP Disney’s Animal Kingdom park
Discover why gibbons are facing many threats in the wild and how Disney is helping.
Lumber and Lodgings
Increased logging has encouraged road development which has led to the destruction of forest homes for gibbons and fragmented their population.
Primates Don’t Make Good Pets
Siamangs are sought after as pets in many Asian countries, making them the most traded species of gibbon in the illegal wildlife trade. They sell them even though primates do not make good pets. Primates can live a long time, spread disease to humans and require specialized care. When primates are kept as pets, their natural social structure is not maintained and they can develop abnormal behaviors that may result in the animal becoming aggressive towards people.
Hunted for Bones
In some Asian countries, gibbons are hunted by humans who sell their body parts for use in traditional medicine. The bones from gibbons have been used to make a cream that is believed to cure arthritis and accelerate recovery.
Disney Is Helping Gibbons in the Wild
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) has contributed more than $45 million dollars to support conservation programs in 115 countries around the world. This includes a focus on empowering rural communities throughout southeastern Asia to protect gibbons and other apes facing similar threats. By supporting nonprofit organizations’ efforts to provide innovative education programs, lead cutting-edge research and sustainable development planning, the Disney Conservation Fund is reversing the decline of wildlife and increasing the time kids spend in nature to inspire the next generation of conservationists.
In addition, The Walt Disney Company established a paper sourcing and use policy across all of its entities, including theme parks and publishing. This policy aims to minimize paper consumption and eliminate paper sourced irresponsibly and from areas of high conservation value.
Disney’s animal care experts provide gibbons with the perfect place to explore, play and raise a family.
A Swingin’ Good Time
A crisscrossed network of bamboo beams, ropes, ladders, towers and live trees provides our gibbons with endless opportunities to climb, swing and stay active in their specially designed forest dwelling.
A Fruity Feast
Gibbons spend the day foraging for the perfect mix of leaves, fruits, vegetables and flowers. The gibbons at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park are provided with a colorful combination of fresh fruits, veggies and plant life on a daily basis, allowing them to make a meal out of their favorite foods. What a sweet treat!
Our animal care experts may place treats for gibbons in a hanging bucket or a burlap bag to draw out the natural curiosity and put their foraging skills to the test. Who knew foraging could be so much fun?
To provide mental stimulation to our gibbons, our animal care experts may provide gibbons with a game to play on a tablet computer. The gibbons can match colors, shapes or objects. When the item is matched correctly, the gibbons get a tasty treat.
Discover some fascinating facts about these fascinating primates!
A Voice That Carries
If you imagine that your voice box had a built-in megaphone, you may get a bit of an idea of what it’s like to be a gibbon. Gibbons have a throat sac, an inflatable flap of skin on their neck, that they can fill with air to amplify their calls. The ability to be heard from far away makes it easier for gibbons to communicate with their family in the dense forest and helps them mark their territory using sound.
Treetop Trapeze Act
Gibbons can speed through trees with ease. The secret to their acrobatic grace? Gibbons can rotate their arms in a complete circle. By combining this impressive 360-degree arc with a quick, repetitive underhand motion, gibbons can seamlessly propel themselves through branches.
Siamangs and white-cheeked gibbons are in close competition when it comes to winning the “parents of the year” award.
Mother white-cheeked gibbons carry their newborn with them for approximately 4 months until the newborn begins to walk and climb on its own. During this period of parental care, the father and older siblings teach the newborn about foraging, playing, grooming and the family hierarchy.
Mother siamangs are similar in that they carry their newborn for several months after birth. The father siamang’s role is unparalleled by any other species of gibbon. Father siamangs carry their young for almost their entire second year of life.
A Well-Groomed Family
Social grooming is an important part of a gibbon family’s social structure. By picking through each other’s fur, family members reinforce their familial relationship, build trust and make conflict resolutions.
Long and Lanky
Gibbons have arms that are noticeably longer than their legs, a trait shared by many apes. When walking on the ground, they extend their arms out by their sides, like a tightrope walker, to prevent them from getting in the way.
Two Thumbs Up
Gibbons have opposable thumbs, making it easy for them to maneuver, carry and grab items with their hands. They also have opposable big toes, giving them the ability to grasp and hold objects with their feet.
You may be surprised that gibbons have a large set of canine teeth. Prominent pointed canine teeth tend to be associated with carnivores and gibbons are mainly herbivores. Gibbons use these sharp teeth as a form of defense.
Something to Sleep on
Both siamangs and white-cheeked gibbons have thick, callused pads on their rears. This serves as a cushion to sleep comfortably while sitting upright on rough surfaces.
Gold, Black or Both
When a male or female white-cheeked gibbon is born, its fur is a golden color just like its mother’s fur, which helps the juvenile blend in while being carried by its mother. As the newborn ages, its gold fur will grow in darker until it is completely black like its father’s fur. If the white-cheeked gibbon is male, he will remain black with fuzzy white cheeks for the rest of his life. If it is a female, her fur will turn gold again once she reaches maturity, around 5 to 7 years of age.
A Love Song
Everybody enjoys a good love song, even gibbons! Gibbons are monogamous, meaning they mate for life. When a gibbon finds the perfect partner, the pair will create a “duet” of calls and whooping sounds that is unique to them.
What can one person or family do to protect gibbons and their habitats? A lot more than you think!
Use Paper Responsibly
Buying recycled paper products like notepads, paper towels and toilet paper helps reduce paper consumption and helps to protect the forest homes of many animals.
Eat, Drink and Protect Nature
Look for chocolate and coffee that are grown using rainforest-friendly processes the next time you go grocery shopping. There are even apps for mobile devices that can help you make more knowledgeable decisions while shopping for everything from cookies to pet food.
Bamboo for You
The clearing of hardwood forests continues to threaten gibbon habitats. So, look for products made of responsibly grown bamboo the next time you’re furnishing your home. Bamboo is a sustainable, sturdy and multipurpose alternative to popular hardwoods. However, since bamboo is a hardy, fast-growing plant, it can quickly out compete other native species when not properly managed.
Visit the Websites Below
The Walt Disney Company is committed to protecting the planet and using resources wisely. We conserve nature and inspire kids and families to join us in caring for the planet. Explore the websites below to see how Disney is helping to make the world a better place—and learn about the many creative ways you can make a difference, too!
“I have learned from the animal world. What everyone will learn who studies it, is a renewed sense of kinship with the Earth and all its inhabitants.” – Walt Disney