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.
Photos: 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.