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VIDEO: Rare baby gibbon born in Turin zoo
The baby siamang with its parents Kiang and Queenia. Photo: Zoom Torino

VIDEO: Rare baby gibbon born in Turin zoo

Published: 20 Sep 2013 15:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Sep 2013 15:14 GMT+02:00

Staff at the Turin-based Zoom zoo have expressed their joy at the rare birth of a baby siamang, a type of gibbon, it was announced on Thursday. The zoo has released a video on YouTube of the newborn’s first outing with its mother.

The baby siamang, which is just a few days old, does not have a name because staff have not yet been able to determine its sex, a spokesperson told The Local.

It was born to eight-year-old Kiang and seven-year-old Queenia.

Since the couple met at the zoo two years ago they have been practically inseparable, staff say.

“Some time ago, for example, Queenia had a routine operation, and had to be separated from Kiang for a few hours,” staff added. “For all of that time Kiang was very agitated and very sad, and when Queenia came back he hugged her and since then has never been separated from her. 

“But it is rare to see one so full of affection in which the male dedicates so much attention to the female.”

Needless to say, the zoo is delighted at the birth.

“We are very pleased about the happy event,” said Valentina, a biologist at the park, “especially because gibbons only give birth every two to three years, after seven to eight months of pregnancy and give birth to just one at a time. So we want to make the most of the new arrival and give it all the attention that it deserves.”

“The birth of a cub is always a very moving event for all staff,” said Daniel Sanchez, from the Zoological department of the park. “Reproduction is indicative of the wellbeing of an animal and in this case, moreover, it’s a success because it proves that the couple is solid and harmonious.”

The siamang (symphalangus syndactylus), which is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), is a tailless, arboreal, black-furred gibbon native to the forests of Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra.

At birth, the species can weigh between 500 and 600 grams with full-grown gibbons weighing up to 14kg.

This isn’t the first special birth that has taken place at the zoo.

“Recently two Madagascan lemurs, four African penguins and a lama were also born,” a spokesperson told The Local.

You can watch a video of the baby siamang below:

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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