A morning with the Gibbons in Vietnam

A northern yellow cheeked gibbon (Nomascus annamensis) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.

The Houston Zoo recognizes that strategic partnerships strengthen our ability to save animals in the wild.  We began our partnership with an organization called The Photo Ark in 2010.   It was founded by National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore.  The goal of the Photo Ark is to photo document and display all of the world’s captive species in a way that people will want to care about them before they disappear.

Joel Sartore and Peter Riger, the Houston Zoo’s Vice-President of Conservation, are in Vietnam visiting a variety of rehabilitation and rescue centers to take photos of some of the rarest species in captivity. Here is a post about the adventure from Peter Riger.

‘Jonas’, a male southern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus siki) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.

Gibbons are particularly smart, stubborn, tenacious, curious and suspicious all at the same time. The process for having them shift into a space so that we can photograph them on black or white background could be particularly tricky. But the Gibbons here at EPRC seemed comfortable enough and we were quickly photographing a female Southern Yellow-cheeked Gibbon by 9am.

A couple of treats, capture the photos we need and back into her enclosure she goes for her mid morning “breakfast” in the gibbon area of the center. Breakfast is quickly met with the calls of gibbons from all around. As the calls echoed through the trees you could not be heard talking so you just wait and listen as they go through their morning rituals.

Next up was a young confiscated male Northern Yellow-cheeked gibbon. There are 6 species of gibbons here in Vietnam and this one is a bit rarer than the others. It is the same routine with him and then back to his enclosure for lunch.

Our new Photo Ark “team” took a little break in between gibbons for lunch and an Easter egg hunt provided by the a Director of the center and our gracious hosts, Tilo Nadler and his family. Then, it was back to the photo shoot for a female Northern White-cheeked gibbon and finally one of the centers Slow Loris adults.

A female slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) a vulnerable species at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.

A few more species to go over the next three days, and a visit to the Van Long Nature Reserve, home to approximately 120 Delacour Langurs. This is the majority of the wild population and only one of two places (the other being here in Cuc Phuong) this species survives.

Stay tuned for more from the Houston Zoo’s Vice President of Conservation, Peter Riger and the Photo Ark’s, Joel Sartore in Vietnam.

To donate and learn more about the Photo Ark click here.  And remember the Houston Zoo is saving animals in the wild, every time you visit the Zoo you help us to do this awesome work!

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