Drum roll, please… it turns out the baby gibbon at the Teaching Zoo … is … a … girl! (Yay!)
The baby was born July 21, 2010, so why has it taken so long, you might think, to finally announce its sex?
Remember how Boo at the Zoo, the zoo’s Halloween celebration, had to be moved to the front rather than inside the zoo last year, in order not to stress the baby gibbon and its mom? Well, that’s the same reason the baby gibbon’s first exam was postponed until last week.
“We finally got to the point where a sedation of the family wouldn’t disturb family dynamics,” explained Director Jonathan Miot. “We knew it was less likely the baby would be at risk.”
During the gibbon family’s annual exam, zoo staff and students worked along with University of Florida vet students and veterinarians, and the baby was, as they say, “sexed.”
Submit a name
So now the fun begins. As they did with the Asian small-clawed otters, the zoo is going to invite the community to help name the gibbon baby. Zoo guests can turn in a name at the zoo during the World Oceans Day Celebration, June 4 and 5, or submit a name on the Zoo’s Facebook page:
“We’ll get all the names in, then we’ll pick the three finalists, and then everyone can vote for their favorite name on our Facebook page via a poll,” explained Miot.
The poll will go up on Facebook on Monday, June 13 and will close on Saturday, June 18, with the name being announced on Tuesday, June 21, the first day of summer.
Gibbons are small apeas and members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums‘ Species Survival Plan because they are endangered in the wild. They’re found in northern Sumatra, peninsular Malaysia, Myanamar, Thailand, and marginally into southern China. They are tree dwellers and are monogamous and mate for life. The baby’s family includes dad Eddie, 29, and mom Cajun, 19. Gibbons can start breeding at age 5 and live into their late 30s or 40s. Adults weigh between 6 to 7 kilos or 13.2 to 15.4 pounds.
World Oceans Day Celebration, June 4 and 5
The Teaching Zoo is hosting a celebration of the world’s oceans for the entire family, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, with activities for both kids and adults, including crafts and fun, informative sessions about the oceans and Florida-specific animals such as the manatee. Learn about sustainable seafood and ways we can protect and preserve the world’s oceans. This year’s theme is based on the Dr. Seuss book, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” and you’ll see colorful illustrations throughout the zoo.
The zoo has also redesigned its trail system and you no longer need to traverse the zoo in the company of a zookeeper. This means families can tour the zoo at their leisure and spend as much time as they want at each exhibit.
For more details, visit the zoo’s website at www.sfcollege.eduy/zoo. Zoo admission is $5 for adults, $4 for children age 3-12 and seniors, and free for children under 3 and for anyone with a Santa Fe College ID.