Baton Rouge Zoo announces newest addition to family

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a siamang gibbon. Born early in the morning May 26, the baby is currently on exhibit with its mother and father.

This gibbon is the first mammal born in the Realm of the Tiger, the Zoo’s newest exhibit featuring tigers, gibbons, koi and birds of Asia. No word yet on the baby’s gender or name.

At birth, the baby clings to its mother’s abdomen. The mother provides baby warmth and support. Around age two,  the baby is independent, but still very much a part of the family structure.

Siamangs are not monkeys. They are lesser apes.  An easy way to explain the difference is that apes, both lesser and greater, have no tails. The father was born in 1984 at San Francisco Zoo, and the mother was born in 1993 at Fresno Zoo.

Siamangs are monogamous and live with offspring until they reach maturity. This pair has reproduced in the past. This is their third baby together.

They are fed a variety of fruits and vegetables along with primate chow. Siamangs are not possessive about food and often share with mates and offspring. Over 80 percent of their locomotion is brachiation.  They can knuckle walk or walk upright.  Ten  percent of their locomotion is bi-pedal, the most of any non-human primate. 80 percent of Siamangs have the 2nd and 3rd toes joined by a bridge of flesh, hence the scientific name Hylobates syndactylus meaning “gibbon with fused digits.”

Siamangs are an SSP species, meaning they are managed by a Species Survival Plan.

More than 120 institutions in North America, including the Baton Rouge Zoo, participate in various SSPs. An SSP is a breeding program to help insure a species’ survival. Organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), each plan manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. The Baton Rouge Zoo participates in the Siamang gibbon SSP as well as many others.


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