May 1, 2013
A very rare baby – one of only two born in the United States in the last 12 months – has arrived at the zoo. A male Javan gibbon was born on April 16 in the Indonesian Rain Forest.
“We are thrilled with the birth,” says Animal Curator Mark Weldon. “Dieng is being a good mother and the baby appears healthy.”
On a visit to the gibbons’ indoor quarters, Dieng, the mother, held her new baby tightly to her chest as she swung gracefully from branch to branch. The baby had no choice but to hang on tight to Dieng’s furry belly or risk falling to the ground. But luckily, nature has equipped baby gibbons with a strong grip!
Lionel, the baby’s father, and big brother Jaka, who was born here in March 2011, were more focused on the treats being offered by zoo keeper Kristen Sliger than on the new baby. “Jaka is curious about his new sibling, but Dieng is also very protective,” she said. The new arrival does not yet have a name.
For now, the gibbons’ access to the outdoors will be limited to time periods when the temperature is above 60 degrees. The apes will only be allowed to venture into the overhead chute that connects their indoor quarters to the outdoor exhibit. “We just want to play it safe and make sure the baby is ready to move into the big exhibit before we give them complete access,” Sliger said.
Javan gibbons are rare in zoos and in the wild. Fewer than 4,000 of these gibbons remain on the island of Java, where they are under intense pressure from the island’s burgeoning human population. Read more about Javan gibbons here.
Click on the photos below to enlarge.