Parker the Gibbon gave birth at Ohio’s Akron Zoo on Thursday, Dec. 9 at around 9 p.m. White-cheeked gibbons are arboreal, which means that they live high in trees. Gibbons are more likely to give birth high up, and Parker is protecting her baby from the beginning as she catches the infant during the delivery. She immediately begins grooming and cleaning the baby.
Parker is a very attentive and caring mother. She nurses and cuddles her infant while dad, Milo, watches from afar. Parker is very protective of her baby and does not let Milo get too close. Gibbon fathers do play a role in rearing, so this is temporary for our gibbon family!
Parker has established strong bonds with her care team since she arrived here at the Akron Zoo at the end of 2020. While our staff is hands-off with the baby, Parker is willing to show the baby to her keepers and our veterinary staff, who can then take a look at the baby to make sure everything is going well.
After a few days, Parker allows Milo to sit next to her and meet the baby for the first time. He gently reaches out to touch the infant and after begins to groom Parker.
For primate species, grooming is a good indicator of a strong bond. Parker and Milo are often seen grooming each other. When the baby is one week old, Milo grooms the infant for the first time!
Gibbon babies will hold on to their mom from the time of birth. At two days old, Parker brings the baby to show members of her care team while Parker enjoys some food.
Sound on for this video! While Parker is eating, the baby is finding his or her voice and vocalizing before beginning to nurse!
Parker was very excited to show off her baby during their first time in the indoor gibbon habitat.