His birth at Mogo Zoo was an extremely rare event and the silvery gibbon has been welcomed by staff at Mogo Zoo, who say their zoo is only the second in Australia to exhibit and successfully breed the species in captivity.
The quest is now on to name the baby gibbon following his birth in the early hours of May 7 to mother Layar after a long and arduous labour.
It is Layar’s second-born in less than three years and both her offspring were fathered by Arjuna.
Mogo staff say the parents, in the five weeks since his birth, have bonded extremely well with the pint-sized newborn.
Keepers continue to witness human-like
displays of affection between the pair and its young, and are delighted with the gibbon’s progress.
“Layar and Arjuna are certainly proving a lot more relaxed in their parenting approach second time around,” primate keeper Sophie Miller said. “We’re optimistic that this pair will maintain an active role in the global breeding program for this species.”
Mogo Zoo houses one of just six successful breeding pairs of this species kept in accredited zoos around the world, among them Perth Zoo.
Zoo staff hope his birth will play a modest but essential role in securing the future of this endangered primate.
The silvery gibbon exclusively inhabits rainforest on the island of Java in Indonesia and the number of the species remaining in the wild is estimated to be between 400 and 4000. The captive population outside Indonesia has dropped to about 70.
Habitat destruction due to deforestation from logging and clearing for palm oil crops is said to be the main factor responsible for the diminishing number of silvery gibbons.
Female gibbons are also known for their haunting call in the wild.
The breeding pair arrived at Mogo in October 2008 from Perth Zoo although Layar originally emigrated from Howletts Zoo in England.