Introduction to Surrogates at the Cincinnati Zoo
Primate team will hand-rear while baby and surrogate “aunts” see and smell each other
CINCINNATI, OH (March 23, 2023) — A six-month-old northern white-cheeked gibbon that arrived earlier this month from the Dallas Zoo is doing well and getting closer to being ready to move in with Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s two female buff-cheeked gibbons. The sister gibbons are in their teens and have not raised offspring of their own, but the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP) has identified them as a good potential surrogate family for “Kip.”
“His mom and dad did not show interest in caring for him, so the Dallas Zoo primate team stepped in to provide essential round-the-clock care,” said zoological manager of primates Victoria McGee. “They remained optimistic that Kip would be able to reunite with his parents, but multiple reintroduction efforts were unfortunately not successful.”
Since his arrival at the Cincinnati Zoo on March 7, Kip has been near his future aunties, Skittles and M&M, and has been cared for 24/7 by the Zoo’s animal care professionals. The gibbons can see and smell each other, while interacting through a protective barrier.
“We will continue to feed and care for Kip, while encouraging interactions with the adult gibbons. It could be several more weeks before we do physical introductions, but we’re seeing positive behaviors and are hoping for a good outcome,” said McGee. “He’s taking bottles through the mesh, which he will still do after he joins the girls, and climbing around on the special gyms that the Zoo’s volunteer enrichment team built to encourage locomotion.”
Look for updates on Kip’s progress and when/where visitors will be able to see him on the Zoo’s social media channels and on cincinnatizoo.org.