The Idaho Falls Zoo is happy to report that Sid, a Mueller Grey Gibbon born June 16, is successfully being reintroduced with his parents, Shannon and Sterling.
“The family is getting comfortable with one another as they learn and demonstrate proper and normal interaction,” says Zoo Director David Pennock. “The reintroduction is going quite well.”
Sid is the first Mueller Grey Gibbon born at the zoo and one of 16 living in the United States. Currently listed as an endangered primate, the Mueller Grey Gibbon is native to the rainforests of Borneo.
Due to complications with his care, zoo staff and volunteers have spent more than 3,000 hours caring for Sid since the beginning of his life. Idaho Falls Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Rhonda Aliah said that because Sid was born with a set of rare, sharp teeth; his mother would not let him nurse.
“To hand raise a gibbon is an extremely complicated and time-intensive,” Zoo Operations Manager Linda Beard said. “He needs 24-hour attention just like a human infant.”
Sid’s parents were moved into the CHC Animal Health Care Center to remain close, but not in direct contact, with Sid as part of the reintroduction. Time has been spent teaching Sid and his parent what to do when they are in the same enclosure together. This is necessary as Sid will still need to take a bottle for at least the first year of his life.
These interactions are being monitored by zoo staff and volunteers around-the-clock. Once the animal care professionals are fully confident the family has successfully reunited, the gibbons will be moved into the primate center. The timeframe of when this will occur is unknown, but the staff is hopeful it will be completed in September.
Be sure to plan your visit to the zoo before it closes for the season in early October.
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