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Fota to Celebrate International Gibbon Day

As the Cork Jazz Festival gets into Full swing on Saturday, Fota Wildlife Park will be celebrating the real king of the swingers the Gibbons for International Gibbon Day.

To mark the occasion Fota Wildlife Park is opening the latest island in their Asian Sanctuary which will be home to the Lar Gibbons. The Lar gibbon family will now be neighbours to Jamil the Indian Rhino, Sumatran Tigers, Lion Tailed Macaques, Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Warty Pig and Francois Langur Monkeys in the 27 acre expansion with many more to come in the next few years.

Gibbons are members of the ape family and share some features with the Gorilla and Chimpanzees such as a large brain, no tail, broad chest and upright structure.  International Gibbon Day is the biggest date on the 'Year of the Gibbon' calendar which was named by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a bid to raise awareness of the threats gibbons face, as it is feared they will be one of the next group of animals to face global extinction in the wild.

Fota Wildlife Park is home to 3 types of Gibbons including the Siamang, Agile and Lar gibbon. The lar gibbon, also known as the white-handed gibbon, lives in pairs in tree top territories in evergreen rainforests on the islands and mainland of Southeast Asia.

The Lar Gibbon has been in Cork since the very beginning of the Park and up to this week located on one of the bigger islands in the lake area opposite the penguins. Primate Warden Eibhlín Foley at Park believes the new island will be a big hit “they love their new home as it bigger and gives them more room to swing and run as they are a very active animal”.

Although there won’t be any Jazz music in Fota Wildlife Park this weekend there will be plenty of noise when the Siamang get a special feed at 2.15 and the Lar Gibbons get one on their new island at 3pm this Saturday. On top of the opening of the new island Fota wildlife Park will also have arts & crafts, talks and face painting to mark the occasion.

The park will also be donating a cheque of €2,500 from their recent art auction to Fauna & Flora International for Gibbon conservation.