“The baby gibbon seems to be very active in mid-morning and early afternoon, so between that and the great weather we’re having, it’s the perfect time to come out to the zoo,” said Director Jonathan Miot.
“It is so much fun to watch the baby climb by itself, try new food, and wrestle with mom,” he added. “Cajun has been so patient letting the little one crawl around and explore. She has been doing such a great job with this baby, considering she is a brand new mother. We are very proud of her.”
Zookeepers still do not know the baby’s sex, since they have not done an exam on the infant. They are being very careful not to stress mom or baby, or disrupt their relationship.
Gibbons are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan because they are endangered in the wild. Populations have declined by 50 percent in the last 45 years due to habitat destruction and hunting.
Gibbons are found in in northern Sumatra (Indonesia), peninsular Malaysia, Myanamar (east of the Salween River), Thailand, and marginally into southern China. They are tree dwellers — living in high canopies — and are monogamous and mate for life. They live in family groups of up to four individuals, but typically live in male-female pairs.
There are currently 101 gibbons in 44 institutions in the United States. All captive gibbons are genetically analyzed to determine the healthiest combinations for breeding pairs in order to keep the gene pool “clean” and avoid inbreeding.
Gibbons can start breeding at age 5 and live into their late 30s or 40s. Adults weigh between 6 to 7 kilograms or 13.2 to 15.4 pounds.
Eddie, who is 29 and came to the Teaching Zoo from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, is tied for “most valuable male,” meaning “he doesn’t have a lot of relatives in zoos so he is not well represented in the population,” explained Miot. Cajun is 19 and was born at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio.
For information about the zoo’s hours and tours, please visit www.sfcollege.edu/zoo.
For more information about the baby gibbon, contact Jonathan Miot at 395-5602.