A 37-year-old Siamang, named Eloise, was recently photographed holding her infant after giving birth on exhibit, as volunteers and guests looked on, providing the San Diego Zoo with its first Siamang infant in more than 12 years.
Eloise and 35-year-old male, Unkie, had already been successful parents, and their genes are well represented in the Zoo’s Siamang population, so the pair’s breeding had been restricted for a number of years by chemical contraception. For that reason, the arrival of their newest youngster this week was a welcome surprise for animal care staff.
The Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus) is an arboreal black-furred gibbon that is native to the forests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It is the largest of the species and can be twice the size of other gibbons. Siamangs, like many of the animals at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, take part in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a breeding program designed to ensure healthy, genetically diverse populations of threatened and endangered species through a network of accredited zoos. The Siamang is currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.
Animal care staff plans to perform a full exam on the infant in the months ahead, and will be able to determine its sex at that time. Currently, Eloise, Unkie, and their newest addition are doing well, and Zoo guests can visit the trio in their habitat along Orangutan Trail, inside the Zoo’s Lost Forest.