A RARE gibbon has been born at Monkey World at Wool.

The baby is the second golden-cheeked gibbon to be born at the rescue centre, and third gibbon infant overall.

Staff at Monkey World at Bovington are delighted with the new arrival.

The baby is being looked after by his mother, Zoey, and is feeding well.

Zoey is a golden-cheeked gibbon who came to Monkey World from the Pingtung rescue centre in Taiwan.

The baby's father, Jake, was brought to Monkey World from Los Angeles Zoo as part of a European breeding programme for the endangered species.

Wendy Derham, gibbon team leader at Monkey World, said: "The new baby is the third gibbon that has been born at Monkey World and we are all very pleased.

"I am pleased with the progress the new baby is making so far."

Monkey World is home to the largest number of golden-cheeked gibbons outside of Asia, as this species is often illegally smuggled from the wild.

To date the rescue centre has assisted four different governments to stop the smuggling of this species, Great Britain, The Russian Federation, France and Taiwan.

Golden-cheeked gibbons are bred at Monkey World as part of the European Endangered Species Programme, along with woolly monkeys and orangutans.

The first golden-cheeked baby to be born at the park is called Tien, and the other baby gibbon, which is from the Siamang species, is called Onion.

In the wild, golden-cheeked gibbons live in small family groups.

Gibbons are one of the few apes where the female is the dominant individual.

Golden-cheeked gibbons can be found in Southern Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, in tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests. They are highly endangered, largely due to deforestation. They are also hunted and trapped for the pet trade.

Monkey World started building a rescue centre for this species in Vietnam at the end of 2007.

A new rescue centre in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam is expected to be able to receive confiscated endangered primates by this summer.