Born: August 30, 1986

Name: Ziggy

Sex: male

Companion: Erin

Favorite Food: He is not that particular, but like a number of our other gibbons (including his mate Erin), he likes his baked breakfast sweet potatoes and nightly bananas.

Favorite Activity: Flipping the bills of his caregivers’ baseball caps.


Ziggy arrived at IPPL in 2007. He came with his mate Erin and daughter Cathy from a Texas sanctuary that was undergoing reorganization. Prior to that, he had lived at the Dallas Zoo. His records show that he lost some fingers to frostbite while there.

Ziggy lived with his parents in an exhibit, and the zoo gave him to the sanctuary to avoid problems that could arise as Ziggy matured. In the wild, gibbon parents eventually evict their offspring so that the youngsters will go off and establish their own territories and families. Even in captivity, tensions usually arise within the family groups when youngsters reach adulthood, so zoos and other facilities will remove grown-up offspring from their family of origin before anything unpleasant happens. Cathy (who was born in 2000) lived with her parents until early 2012, at which time it became apparent that Cathy was ready to leave and be with a male of her own. We placed her with Michael, with whom she has a good relationship.

When he first arrived at IPPL, Ziggy would sometimes sneak up and give his caregivers “such a pinch!”, but he has since mellowed out and now is content with playfully flipping the bills of their baseball caps. He is now actually pretty friendly towards people—especially if they can do something for him. Near Gibbon House #7 where he lives is an ancient pear tree. These pears are probably old-fashioned cooking pears, so they never get soft the way we humans like our Bartletts and other eating pears (we did give some to a friend once and she was able to make decent pear wine out of them). Even though, at their best, the fruits are hard and sour, that doesn’t matter to Ziggy. When the pears ripen, Ziggy and Erin will stick their arms through the wire mesh of their outdoor enclosure and beg their caregivers to get some for them.