EAZA Ex situ Programme (EEP)


(Symphalangus syndactylus)

Coordinator:  Tony Dobbs
Institution:     Twycross Zoo

→ EAZA Member Area

Twycross Zoo

IUCN Red List status

IUCN Red List EN


Programme roles

Direct Conservation icon Insurance population
All Gibbon EEPs function as a demographically stable, genetically healthy and behaviourally competent insurance population for the species, to allow reintroduction in the far future if needed and in accordance with IUCN reintroduction guidelines. Having insurance populations for gibbons is generally considered to be of high conservation benefit, considering the situation the wild.
Indirect Conservation icon Education
Keeping the species ex situ in attractive exhibits where the animals are able to display naturalistic behaviour provides the opportunity to engaging the public with conservation education stories about small apes in general, taxonomy of gibbons in particular, their unique locomotion/brachiation, forest life in Asia and the threats gibbons are facing in situ (e.g. deforestation, illegal animal trade, hybridisation due to shrinking range). Considering that the trade in this species is encouraged by European tourists taking part in photo props with gibbons in-range, messaging on photo-props may positively impact the species’ conservation.

Enable cooperative research that may benefit either ex situ or in situ populations. Research is suggested on behaviour, nutrition, genetics, veterinary aspects and health.

It is strongly recommended by the Gibbon TAG to carry out fundraising for the in situ projects recommended by the TAG when keeping a species of gibbon, ideally in combination with sharing educational messages about gibbon species with the public (see education role).

Programme numbers

In March 2021, the Siamang EEP had 147 animals in 46 institutions.

Programme highlights

  • The IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group has recently published best practice guidelines on responsible images of non-human primates. These guidelines aim to reduce the potential costs of primate images to primates, their welfare and conservation in and ex situ. This is relevant for siamangs, as they are sometimes used as photo-props in range countries, resulting in an increased trade in siamangs and other gibbon species. 
  • EAZA published its 2021 Annual TAG Report.

LIFE logo with white paddingThis work is supported by the European Union LIFE NGO funding programme. The European Union is not responsible for the views displayed in publications and/or in conjunction with the activities for which the grant is used.