A warm welcome to the newest White-handed Gibbon born at Mississippi's Jackson Zoo! The baby is a little female named Jari, an Indonesian word meaning 'fingers'. She was born on November 22 to mom Mia and father Cookie-Man, and weighed 1.3 pounds (.6 kg) at birth.
The infant is being hand-raised by veterinary staff due to complications and an unreliable parenting history. Animal care staff feel this is the best way to ensure that the little baby will grow up healthy and safely. The newborn is now under the constant care of veterinary technician Donna Todd. She is being fed half an ounce of formula every 2 to 3 hours, 24 hours a day. Visitors can see the new White-handed Gibbon weekdays at the 11:00 a.m. feeding at the Vet Hospital nursery window.
The Jackson Zoo houses a breeding pair of White-handed Gibbons as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative breeding program between zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The programs help to coordinate breeding between zoos to keep the captive population healthy and genetically diverse. This management is especially vital for the conservation of species that are threatened in the wild.
White-handed Gibbons are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Living in the evergreen forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, the White-handed Gibbon eats mainly fruits and leaves. Because they consume both the fruit and the seeds, these small apes are important seed dispersers, with some plant species relying solely on the Gibbon for dispersal. Currently, the main threats to the wild Gibbon population is hunting and habitat loss.