Join our zoo community

Best Gibbon Enclosure in UK

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by canaryboy, 4 Aug 2013.

  1. canaryboy

    canaryboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 May 2013
    Posts:
    126
    Location:
    England
    I was wondering what people on zoochat think is the best gibbon enclosure in the UK, and why? Also what makes a good gibbon enclosure in your opinion and some observations?

    I've heard of the infamous Marwell gibbon enclosure :( and every time I've been to Twycross the gibbons have been very active and have a lot to climb, but the indoor quarters are rubbish. The new siamang enclosure is very good though. What do you think?...
     
  2. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    942
    Location:
    Bridlington, UK
    I realise it is not popular with most ZooChatters, but I really like the one at the Welsh Mountain Zoo. It offers ample climbing and brachiation opportunities and the public can see the animals - always my first criterion. Also in its favour for me is that it looks like a zoo exhibit rather than some trendy imitation of the wild. I am not so keen on Tropiquaria's, not that it is bad. Exmoor's is okay, but Paignton's island, which I am sure is good for the animals, has the visibility problem. I am not familiar with any others these days, but I used to like Flamingo Land's and was disappointed when it was demolished the other year and not replaced as had been the initial intention as far as I understood it.
     
  3. canaryboy

    canaryboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 May 2013
    Posts:
    126
    Location:
    England
    I've viewed the WMZ gibbon cage in the Gallery and it looks a lot like Twycross'. I imagine that like Twycross' cages they provide so much more climbing opportunities than small islands and open air enclosures. I think also the gibbons like mesh above their heads. In my experience most monkeys and apes use the outdoor enclosures more when they have mesh above it.
     
  4. Johnny Morris.

    Johnny Morris. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    619
    Location:
    Newport Wales UK
    Don't know if it was the enclosure or the Gibbons, but we spent about half an hour watching the Gibbons enjoying themselves at Noahs Ark.
     
  5. canaryboy

    canaryboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 May 2013
    Posts:
    126
    Location:
    England
    The Noah's Ark gibbon enclosure has opened up some fiery debate on zoochat before. Looking naively from photos it doesn't look that bad it definitely has good height.
     
  6. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    29 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    2,049
    Location:
    Behind You! (to the left)
    To me a good gibbon enclosure has height, multiple brachiation opportunities and let's the visitors see the gibbons. Whilst islands look nice I don't think many offer that much in variety of swinging opportunities and, whilst I think they're too small (especially indoors) Twycross' enclosures seem to be furnished (and used for) for maximum movement. I like the fact that at Thrigby and Noah's you can be at the same level as the animals when they're swinging but those enclosures have other shortcomings (especially Thrigby which doesn't allow long swinging journeys (except in a tight circle)). Trotters (or whatever it's calling itself nowadays) seems to manage a reasonable hybrid of real trees and artificial swinging apparatus. Chester's, shared with Orang's, seems good for the animals but I wouldn't technically class it as a Gibbon enclosure.

    Back to my original criteria I don't think there's anything better than Edinburgh's (big and high) enclosure in the UK (I can't picture those at the Aspinall collections and have never been to Monkeyworld).
     
  7. canaryboy

    canaryboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 May 2013
    Posts:
    126
    Location:
    England
    I have never seen monkey worlds' gibbon enclosure but according to a mate they are large and are very natural with real trees. Knowing the caliber of the other monkey world enclosures they're probably good. I wonder if we can get an American's view specifically on what they think makes a good gibbon enclosure. I wonder if they would opt for the natural islands or cages :p. I thing I'm aware what zoochatters in the UK prefer and I think gibbons prefer as I'm yet to see an island which as well used by a gibbon as a cage-type enclosure. Any Yankies???
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    14,861
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    Count me in as another vote for Edinburgh Zoo's gibbon enclosure for the reasons you state.
     
  9. Johnny Morris.

    Johnny Morris. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    619
    Location:
    Newport Wales UK
    Cefn Yr Erw's gibbon enclosure still has a toy tractor in it.
     
  10. Gigit

    Gigit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    2,956
    Location:
    England
    Monkey World must rank highly. The new gibbon house is high and the outside enclosure provides ample climbing and brachiation opportunities on ropes and large trees. The Siamang house is not as high, but the outdoor area is large and has trees. The remaining gibbons have long, high cages with ropes and branches.

    Paignton, as has been mentioned, provides plenty of brachiation, but the 3 gibbons can be hard to spot in the summer when the foliage is dense. They have a small shelter in the trees. Their only human contact is the keeper bearing food so they have quite a natural existence (for a zoo).
     
  11. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    1,314
    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    Howletts. Height, massive climbing areas, the possibility of going behind into the indoor quarters whenever the animals want, and some are even sited in an area of mature woodland. I don't know, but I rather imagine that forest primates rather like that.
     
  12. Waddi

    Waddi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Nov 2009
    Posts:
    392
    Location:
    Wirral
    South Lakes has large hot wired open air enclosures for both Lar and Siamang, both with large climbing frames to provide ample climbing opportunities.
     
  13. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2006
    Posts:
    20,849
    Location:
    england
    Twycross Gibbons(and Siamangs) are noisier and more active than just about anywhere else I've seen. I think you will find it is due to the high stocking levels- the different pairs/groups stimulate each other into much territorial calling, which in turn stimulates their general activity and usage of the enclosures too. I don't think its related to the style of caging particularly.

    IMO best enclosures are islands with large trees, possibly improved with connecting ropes etc. The Gibbons must feel more secure moving around at great height in the trees, as they would in the wild, than in normal-style enclosures. So for me Paignton or anywhere else that offers them this facility are the best for the animals, though not necessarily for public viewing as they are of necessity some distance away. But to me the most interesting things about Gibbons are their aerial movements and their calls anyway, not what they look like.
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  14. TARZAN

    TARZAN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2010
    Posts:
    1,014
    Location:
    SOUTH SHIELDS
    Yes, me also, Edinburgh.
     
  15. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    4,988
    Location:
    South Devon
    The lar gibbons at Chester which share with the Sumatran orangs in RotRA have the best indoor accommodation, plus plenty of space and vegetation in the outdoor areas, but of course it wasn't designed for them. There are also unobstructed views of the gibbons.
    The Paignton gibbon island is OK for the summer, but the trees are mostly deciduous and it looks bleak in the winter, particularly as the indoor quarters are small and they look pretty ramshackle.
    I have not seen the cages at South Lakes or Monkey World so I can't comment on them. The ones at Howletts and Port Lymne must be OK, because the gibbons do so well there, but they are not attractive and they don't give particularly good views.
    I agree with the people who say Edinburgh's enclosure is best. It is big, there is a nice combination of natural and artificial climbing opportunities and the indoor area is fairly spacious too. My only criticism is that it does not give very good views of the gibbons.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  16. BongoHardwood

    BongoHardwood Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    6 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    272
    Location:
    UK
    I think I remember thinking the Manor House gibbon enclosure was quite nice, though I haven't seen it in real life - only on the tv programme... Do they still have the gibbons there?
     
  17. Johnny Morris.

    Johnny Morris. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    619
    Location:
    Newport Wales UK
    Yes i was there Saturday, watched them for a while, the two adults just stayed on the bridge, the baby was playing near the water for a bit, then went and sat with the parents. It's a good enclosure, just like all their others.
     
  18. Tunanta

    Tunanta Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    14 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    220
    Location:
    UK
    I'm with pertinax on this one, I think really well done islands can be better than well done cages & the fact they are more naturalistic provides better educational and just general aesthetic viewing for the public too.

    Edinburgh is the gibbon enclosure I know best at the moment and whilst I think the outdoor area is pretty good as it is large and high, I would disagree that the indoor area is good-to me it's very small and very low-I wouldn't be happy to see them shut in there for any period of time beyond cleaning the main enclosure and then from a visitor point of view I find the enclosure ugly & provides quite poor viewing at times. I will agree the gibbons certainly make use of the space it provides though which is great.
     
  19. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    25 Nov 2012
    Posts:
    452
    Location:
    In Scotland at the moment
    I agree, enclosures without an enclosure, i.e., islands with trees are the best for the gibbons and for the public. I don't think I have seen any in UK but obviously Paignton has this. I have only experienced them in SE Asia (Singapore, Chiang Mai in Thailand and even Laos).
     
  20. johnstoni2

    johnstoni2 Member

    Joined:
    7 Aug 2013
    Posts:
    11
    Location:
    London
    The siamang enclosure at Monkeyworld is, in my mind, a benchmark for outside space in a temperate zoo, admittedly thought I've not seen this in person:

    Monkey World - SIAMANG GIBBONS - YouTube (view of the enclosure around half-way through)
    Gibbons - Monkey World - YouTube
    Gibbon enclosure in Monkey World, Ape Rescue Centre - YouTube

    However, the indoor space is just as important, and long winters spent in portacabin-style huts or small brick outhouses is a hidden issue that is too often masked by the aesthetic in the eyes of the general public of a large island or open enclosure. Having said that, I would imagine Monkeyworld to have spacious indoor facilities for their gibbons. The hut in the third video looks about average in size, and isn't very high, but then the siamang enclosure predates the other gibbon facilties at the park by a number of years,

    The following video appears to be new indoor housing for the golden-cheeked gibbons at Monkeyworld, which I would say is some of the most spacious indoor housing I've seen for gibbons in the UK:

    Gibbons at monkey world - YouTube

    If the newer gibbon facilities at Monkeyworld have anything like the quality of outdoor habitat that the siamangs have, I'd say these would be well and above best practice for this species in climate typical of the UK.
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2013