Our first Zoo baby of the new year just arrived in Forests! A white-handed gibbon named Kavi was born in the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 8, to mother Koko and the father Elliot, and the whole family is doing great together!
Koko is an experienced mom who is very caring and attentive to her infant. Right now the baby is staying very close to Koko, so we don’t yet know the gender. The newborn has a strong grip and long arms to hang on to mom, though Koko also uses her legs to support the baby as she moves. Elliot has been spending a lot of time sitting next to Koko and observing the newcomer. As gibbons are one of the few monogamous primates, Elliot will provide care as well, especially when the baby starts coming off mom at about 4 months old.
With dark hair just like Koko’s, the tiny infant blends in well except for a little pink face peeking out under mom’s arm. The newborn’s hair will grow in gradually until the ape reaches full adult coloration and fullness within two to four years.
As the species is native to warmer regions, our gibbon family will spend the winter in a private indoor area to stay cozy and warm together. Expect to see them this spring spending time in their outdoor habitat in Forests.
In the wild, gibbons live high up in the rain forest canopies, rarely coming down to the ground. Using their strong hook-shaped hands and great arm spans, gibbons swing almost effortlessly from branch to branch. Baby gibbons travel on their mothers until they grow strong enough to swing on their own.
Known for their vocalizations, these lesser apes use their songs to communicate with other gibbons in the area, attract mates and announce their territory. Eventually Kavi will join in Koko and Elliot’s daily duets.
The white-handed gibbons are native to the forests of Southeast Asia, however threats like deforestation and hunting have reduced their numbers by more than half in the past 50 years. The birth of our new gibbon will help raise awareness for the conservation of these endangered apes.
Zoo Babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health.
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