Greensboro Science Center

'Duke' the Gibbon’s Inspiring Story Continues

Duke1

On April 29, 2013, it's doubtful anyone, at Greensboro Science Center, knew how much of an impact the tiny Javan Gibbon, born that day, would have on the facility or the community. The rare, endangered male was born to mom, ‘Isabella’, in the Center’s indoor Gibbon habitat.

In both the wild and in zoos, it’s not unusual for first-time mother Gibbons to abandon their first child, and that’s exactly what happened to the fragile newborn, who was discovered alone in the Gibbon habitat. Thanks to the expert care of zoo keepers, veterinarians, and the staff of a local hospital, the baby, named ‘Duke’, was revived and stabilized. To give Duke the best chance of survival, zoo staffers decided to hand-rear the baby for the next six months, and then try to reintroduce him to his parents, Isabella and Leon, in the exhibit.

ZooBorns shared Duke’s compelling story in two installments: in his birth announcement and in a later update that chronicled his progress

Duke4

Duke5Photos: Greensboro Science Center ; Video: The University of North Carolina Center for Public Television

We have since learned there is more to Duke’s touching story. The University of North Carolina Center for Public Television recently produced a short segment for the program “North Carolina Weekend”, that aired on their local PBS station.

The segment chronicles Duke’s dramatic entrance into the world, his reintroduction to his family, and his traumatic ordeal with a broken arm.

Two-year-old Duke has become a symbol of perseverance, and his story also reiterates how important man is to the equation of conservation and stewardship of the animal kingdom.

 

Duke2

Duke3


Five Otter Pups Born at Greensboro Science Center

Otter pups 012

Snuggled in a furry pile, five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups born at North Carolina’s Greensboro Science Center on November 11 are just beginning to open their eyes and explore the world.

The pups are the first litter of this species ever born at the facility.  For now, the pups remain behind the scenes with their parents, Jelly and Mark Lee.  The family will move into their exhibit sometime in January or February, at which time the pups will learn how to swim in the exhibit’s deep pool.    

Otter pups 007
Otter pups 006
Otter pups 013
Photo Credit:  Greensboro Science Center

Jelly and Mark Lee came to the Science Center in the spring under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.  Asian Small-clawed Otters form monogamous pairs and mate for life. They are the smallest of the world's Otter species and inhabit swamps, rivers, and tidal pools in southeast Asia.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists these Otters as Vulnerable, due to habitat degradation, hunting, and pollution.

See more photos of the Otter pups below the fold.

Continue reading "Five Otter Pups Born at Greensboro Science Center" »


UPDATE: Baby Gibbon Reaches 2-Month Milestone

1045052_10151783854693833_1190249297_n

A rare Javan Gibbon baby at the Greensboro Science Center celebrated his two-month birthday last week, thanks to the dedicated efforts of staff and volunteers. 

1045116_10151783854813833_1239670937_n

1045066_10151783854958833_901474874_n

580178_10151783851988833_217774777_n
Photo Credit:  Greensboro Science Center

Born on April 29, the infant Gibbon was discovered abandoned by his mother, Isabella, as described in an earlier Zooborns post.  Despite attempts to reunite mother and baby, staff and volunteers have been hand-rearing the baby 24 hours a day.

Because baby Gibbons cling to their mothers day and night, zoo keepers wear a special furry vest to allow the male baby, named Duke, to cling to them.  Duke receives formula from a bottle.  Zoo keepers spend the night with Duke so he is never alone.

Zoo keepers bring Duke to see his mother, and, although they are separated by a fence, the two vocalize and touch each other.  The zoo staff plans to reunite the Gibbon family within a few months.

Javan Gibbons are endangered on the island of Java in Indonesia, their only wild home.  Only about 4,000 of these apes, also called Silvery Gibbons, remain in the wild.  Their forest habitat is under intense pressure from the island’s burgeoning human population. 

See more pictures of Duke below the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Baby Gibbon Reaches 2-Month Milestone" »


Miracle Baby Gibbon Rescued at Greensboro Science Center

8730706784_ac99e20d3c_o

On April 29, Isabella, the Greensboro Science Center’s (GSC) rare and endangered Javan Gibbon, gave birth to a baby boy. In both the wild and in zoos, it’s not unusual for first-time mother Gibbons to abandon their first child, and that’s exactly what happened to the fragile newborn, who was discovered alone in the Gibbon habitat. Thanks to the expert care of zoo keepers, veterinarians, and the staff of a local hospital, the baby, named Duke, was revived and stabilized. To give Duke the best chance of survival, zoo staffers decided to hand-rear the baby for the next six months until he is self-sustaining, then try to reintroduce him to his parents, Isabella and Leon, in the exhibit.

The compelling story of Duke’s first few hours of life and the days immediately following his discovery are detailed below.

8730700996_c63014fd74_o

8730703900_78de5822a8_o

8729586127_6758d5aa28_o
Photo Credit:  Greensboro Science Center

 

In the early morning of April 29, a zoo keeper discovered a tiny, full-term baby Javan Gibbon lying without its mother inside the Gibbons’ indoor habitat. She immediately wrapped the seemingly lifeless and cold infant into her jacket and ran back to the animal hospital. Slowly, the baby started to warm up and began moving and vocalizing. Keepers held the baby in their arms and up against the body for contact and continuous warmth the first critical hours. Room temperatures were increased to 85 degrees. Once warmed and clinging firmly to a toy Gibbon, Duke was given tiny drops of fluid to rehydrate, then he began taking diluted formula.  Duke gained strength and opened his eyes forcing a crucial decision: Should the staff try to introduce him back to Isabella or not? Knowing that parent rearing is always the best option (though filled with risk given the initial abandonment), the decision was made to introduce Duke back to his parents approximately 30 hours after being found. After some initial nervousness, Isabella grabbed him up in her arms and mother and son were reunited.

Unfortunately, after just 24 hours, it was clear that Duke was weakening and likely not nursing. After much discussion, the decision was made to hand-rear Duke knowing that staff would now need to do everything possible to keep him in visual, vocal and olfactory contact with his parents.

Duke’s condition is stable, and the GSC staff are committed to providing care 24 hours a day for the next six months.  “Nothing in nature is about fairness. It is about survival,” said GSC director Glenn Dobrogosz. “Duke, and hopefully his species, will have a fighting chance thanks to keepers, curators and wildlife biologists who dedicate their lives to preserving and protecting our world’s wild things and wild places.” 

In 2012, GSC was selected by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to be the second accredited zoo in the U.S. to exhibit and breed Javan Gibbons - one of the rarest Gibbon species on the planet found only on the island of Java in Indonesia. Duke is one of only eight born in zoos across the world and one of three born in North America in the past 12 months.