Racine Zoo white-handed gibbon named 'Yule' celebrates 55th birthday

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Happy Birthday to "Yule," a white-handed gibbon at the Racine Zoo! 

The zoo announced Yule turns 55 on Friday, May 28, and will be spent with many zoo-goers and staff. He will also be given special birthday enrichment for the exciting occasion. 

According to the Racine Zoo, Yule was born May 6, 1966 and he is the oldest known gibbon in North America, outliving the average gibbon lifespan of 30 – 44 years. Thanks to the incredible care of his keepers, Yule is still healthy and is as spry as ever. He regularly eats prunes to keep him regular and his vet has even started giving him gummy vitamins to keep him healthy. Yule lives with his daughter, Robin, who is 41 years old, also exceeding the average lifespan of a gibbon. The two of them have a very close bond. At the zoo, you can find Yule hanging out with Robin, swinging from branches, and practicing his territorial call.

The Racine Zoo says Gibbons typically live in southeast Asia in tropical rain forests. They are quite picky eaters and love to eat fruits and greens, but will make sure they are ripe before eating them. Gibbons are great brachiators, meaning they are known for overhead arm swinging. They have the longest arms relative to body size of all primates. This helps them move quickly and easily through branches. White-handed gibbons exist in two color morphs, black and blonde. Yule is a black morph gibbon.

Unfortunately, gibbons are one of the most endangered ape species, according to the zoo. Their habitats are threatened by the expansion of logging and agriculture. If you want to help gibbons like Yule, it is recommended to make responsible consumer choices, like buying locally
grown groceries and sustainable wood.

Yule's birthday is a momentous occasion, the zoo says. If you want to celebrate with him, head to the Racine Zoo's Vanishing Kingdom to wish him a happy day. 

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