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Minnesota Zoo Hand-Rears a Baby Gibbon

The Minnesota Zoo’s three week old White-Cheeked Gibbon infant is doing well despite being rejected by her mom. The Zoo is celebrating her progress by releasing behind-the-scenes footage from a recent feeding session. Just like human babies, baby gibbons are completely dependent on mom in the early months of life so zoo staff are working around the clock to hand-rear the little girl. The new baby gibbon will not be on exhibit for several months to ensure proper feeding, rest, and care.

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Apparently baby gibbons sound like R2D2!

White-cheeked gibbons are one of eleven species of gibbon and are critically endangered. The infant, born December 27, 2009, is being hand-raised by Minnesota Zoo animal care staff because her mother “Tia” has shown little interest in her since birth. Weighing 515 grams at birth,she now weighs 670 grams – showing her keepers that she has a good appetite. Zookeepers are putting mother and infant together twice a day for 30 minutes in hopes that the mother will start to show some interest. The infant, who is not yet named, is housed directly next to “Tia” and father “Bailey” so they can see each other.

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This is the 10th gibbon born at the Minnesota Zoo, which is a participating member of the white-cheeked gibbon Species Survival Plan (SSP). She is the first female white-cheeked gibbon born in North America since 2006 and the fourth since 2002.The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit

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