The gift that keeps on gib­bon

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - South Perth -

IT won’t be long be­fore this lit­tle guy is do­ing the ‘funky gib­bon’.

The rare Ja­van gib­bon named Owa only sur­vived his first few months be­cause ded­i­cated Perth Zoo staff cared for him around the clock after his mother wasn’t able to pro­duce enough milk for him.

Pri­mate su­per­vi­sor Holly Thomp­son said the zoo had an ex­cep­tion­ally good track record in this area and had suc­cess­fully hand-reared four white-cheeked gib­bons, although Owa was its first Ja­van gib­bon.

“It is dif­fi­cult to rear a pri­mate and in­tro­duce it back to its fam­ily, so it’s not some­thing we took on lightly,” she said.

“Life has be­come a blur of nap­pies, milk for­mula and sleep­less nights and our vet­eri­nary depart­ment now fea­tures a por­ta­cot, hav­ing been turned into a tem­po­rary nurs­ery. “But it’s cer­tainly a labour of love.” Just like any other new­born, Owa has six bot­tle feeds a day and has started to en­joy mashed fruit and vegetables.

It is an­tic­i­pated that he would re­turn to his fam­ily once he is old enough and weaned off his milk feeds.

Ja­van gib­bons are Java’s last re­main­ing ape and are en­dan­gered due to habi­tat de­struc­tion and the pet trade.

Owa (mean­ing gib­bon in In­done­sian) is a bounc­ing baby boy thanks to zoo staff who nur­tured him.

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