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Gibbons climbing property ladder!

A PS2M Gibbon Forest has opened at Twycross Zoo, making it one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

Spanning nearly an acre, it's ten times larger than the primates' previous enclosure and is specially designed to replicate the natural forest environment of gibbons as well as provide an exciting new experience for visitors.

There's a seven metre high viewing building while visitors can also watch the gibbon families swinging across the four moated islands from outside too.

The new development marks the latest phase in the Leicestershire zoo's PS55million capital investment programme.

"Gibbon Forest is an exciting development because in this new environment, the primates will be living and behaving as they would in the forests of south-east Asia," says Dr Charlotte Macdonald, director of life sciences at Twycross.

"Gibbons spend most of their life in the treetops, rarely descending to the ground, and our gibbons will be able to swing through the trees, replicating their natural behaviour in the wild.

"It is amazing to see them move through trees with such ease and speed."

The zoo has the most diverse collection of gibbons in the UK, including the agile, pileated, siamang and Northern white-cheeked species, all of which are endangered in the wild.

The ground-breaking design of the new habitat has been informed by the specialist knowledge of the team of primate experts at Twycross, the only zoo in the UK, and one of four worldwide, to house all four types of great ape - gorillas, orang-utans, bonobos and chimpanzees.

Special features include a steel mesh ceiling from which keepers can feed the gibbons, encouraging their natural behaviour of finding food high in the tree tops.

Each of the building's four pods, one for each gibbon species at the zoo, has a special bio-floor made of composting mulch which will act like a natural soil and, as it biodegrades, will generate high humidity levels beneficial for the gibbons.


Twycross residents get in the swing at their new home

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Title Annotation:News; Teasers
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 17, 2016
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