Just one month ago, Senior Keeper Amanda Bissert walked into the Javan Gibbons’ indoor habitat and discovered a tiny, full-term baby gibbon lying cold and barely alive on the floor. Just one month later, we are thrilled to be able to tell visitors that baby Duke is doing well and continues to grow stronger each day thanks to the dedicated care of GSC keepers and volunteers.
Isabella, Duke’s mother, unfortunately has had a difficult time producing enough milk to nourish the infant. To ensure his greatest chance at survival, GSC keepers made the difficult decision to hand-raise the baby. Although, as many human parents know, it isn’t easy caring for a newborn, GSC zoo staff has stepped up to the plate and readily accepted the challenge. Their efforts are paying off. As you can see from the chart below, Duke is continuously gaining weight and grows stronger each day.
Due to the incredible amount of time and resources that goes into hand-rearing this fragile infant, volunteers from Cone Health have generously offered assistance. During the day, these volunteers can sometimes be seen through the windows of Animal Discovery’s hospital, holding, rocking and feeding Duke. This allows GSC staff to continue to provide excellent care for the remainder of our resident animals while being assured Duke is well taken care of by these faithful volunteers.
Duke continues to receive regular interaction time with his parents, during which he can see, smell and hear Leon and Isabella. This will hopefully lead to a positive outcome once he is able to eat solid foods and can be reunited with them.
Interested in helping out? A donation to the Center goes toward the daily husbandry and veterinary care of the animals, like Duke!