Amid preparations for the season’s first winter weather event, the Greenville Zoo welcomed a new member of the zoo family on Friday – a baby siamang born to parents, Ella (27) and Oscar (25). This is the second offspring for the pair, whose first, George, was born in March 2015 and marked the beginning of a new era for siamang breeding at the Greenville Zoo.
According to Greenville Zoo director Jeff Bullock, the family is doing well and is being closely monitored. Zoo staff will allow the family time to bond and will determine the gender over the next few weeks.
“This is another important birth for the Greenville Zoo and the Gibbon Species Survival Plan (SSP), but what will be even more exciting for our guests is watching these two youngsters growing up together,” said Bullock. “Ella and Oscar have proven themselves to be great parents, and now we get to see what kind of big brother George will be.” With warmer weather in the forecast, zoo guests will have an opportunity to see the newborn with Ella on exhibit this week.
Ella came to the Greenville Zoo from the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas in 2014 as part of a breeding recommendation by the SSP. Oscar was born and raised at the Greenville Zoo. The zoo works directly with the SSP, which makes recommendations and develops long-term research and management strategies for the species. Currently, siamangs are critically endangered due to habitat destruction for logging and agriculture.
Siamangs are the largest species in the gibbon family, weighing 18-29 pounds and reaching approximately 30-36 inches in height. Siamangs are arboreal (tree-dwelling) primates that consume leaves, fruits, flowers and insects from the upper canopy of mountainous forest regions. They have an arm spread of as much as five feet, which makes them spectacular brachiators (primates that use an arm-over-arm swinging motion to propel themselves from tree to tree). One feature that distinguishes siamangs from other primates is the duet song that marks their territory with sound. It consists of loud booms and barks, amplified by resonating sounds across their inflated throat sacs. This vocalization can be heard several miles away. Siamangs bear one offspring after a gestation period of seven to eight months. For the first few months, the baby can be seen clinging to the mother’s abdomen. After two years, the baby begins to wean and becomes more independent. Around age seven, siamangs reach sexual maturity and leave their family group.
The Greenville Zoo will announce the baby’s gender once it is determined.
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Contact: Jeff Bullock
Greenville Zoo Director