We are delighted to announce some great news: we have a new gibbon at the IPPL sanctuary!
Mia is being retired from the Jackson Zoo in Mississippi. Her previous mate, a gentle soul named Cookie Man, sadly passed away last June. That left Mia a widow. In addition, she had proved to be incapable of raising her own offspring (although her latest baby, a charming daughter named Jari, has been successfully hand-reared and is now with another gibbon).
Gibbons living in captivity at reputable zoos and similar facilities are tracked by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The AZA oversees hundreds of “Species Survival Plans,” programs to manage the captive population of a given species as a whole and ensure the continuation of a “healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied” group of animals to be shared among the member institutions of the AZA.
The Gibbon SSP coordinator, Jay Petersen, knew of Mia’s situation—and of IPPL’s fine reputation as a great place for gibbons, with a policy of not breeding our animals. Not only that, our Executive Director Shirley McGreal had informed him that we currently care for four single-housed males and would welcome any gibbon females who could be paired with them.
Jay recommended that Jackson Zoo send Mia to us, and we all soon agreed that this would be a win-win situation. After a few weather-related delays, Mia was driven from Mississippi by Jackson Zoo’s long-time vet tech, Donna Todd, and safely installed in Gibbon House #4 last Friday.
After a few days to allow her to adjust to her new surroundings, we let her into her large outdoor enclosure Wednesday morning. Within five minutes, she was delivering the soaring white-handed gibbon “great call” and being answered by neighboring females. She was making great use of the available space, too—leaping and swinging energetically at the climax of her calls—and directing characteristic tight-lipped faces at Elizabeth across the way. All beautifully normal territorial gibbon behavior!
We humans are not the only ones who are excited. Currently, we have four un-paired males, any of whom might appreciate a little female companionship:
- Louie-Louie, a son of two lab gibbons, who was sadly widowed, himself, just last year.
- Maynard, our favorite “bad boy,” who came from a small sanctuary where he had been housed with a capuchin.
- Gus, a playful former pet, who came to IPPL in 2007 from another sanctuary.
- Spanky, a handsome youngster and another former pet, who came to IPPL from Texas only last May.
[Update 3/25/15: You can vote here for a chance to win a tour of IPPL’s private sanctuary! Hurry: voting closes May 1!]
All of them are visible to Mia across IPPL’s main gibbon yard. Who do you think will turn out to be Mia’s lucky fella? We can’t wait to find out!