New Brunswick

New arrival at Magnetic Hill Zoo brings primate family unit up to four

Magnetic Hill Zoo is asking the public for help naming a white-handed gibbon born in February. The baby boy joins parents K'nook and Rudee and brother Lek, who is two.

The public is being asked to help name the white-handed gibbon

The newest addition to a family of four white-handed gibbons is drawing a lot of attention at the Magnetic Hill Zoo and Park in Moncton. He was born in February, (Kate Letterick/CBC News)

The family of four white-handed gibbons are enjoying a day of sunshine at the Magnetic Hill Zoo and Park.

Rudee, the father, is deftly swinging from fences to ropes, while two year old son Lek is busy putting on a show for visitors.

But mother K'nook and her three month old baby boy are also drawing a lot of attention.

"He's just starting now to come off of the mother a little bit. But he has a way that he holds on to the mother and she holds her legs in a certain way that almost makes a little seat for him to kind of protect him," said Tiffany Bateman, animal care foreman at the Zoo.

Tiffany Bateman is the animal care foreman at the Magnetic Hill Zoo. She says this is the first time the zoo has had a family unit of four white-handed gibbons. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News)

"He's very strong so he holds on quite tight and it's not uncommon to see her swinging around in her enclosure and the baby is fine holding on."

Rudee and K'nook have been at Magnetic Hill for more than 7 years. This is the first time the zoo has had a family unit of four.

White-handed gibbons are an endangered species of primates from south eastern Asia.

They are boisterous, and fast in the wild.

"They are known for howling very loud, a loud territorial call that they do and a form of locomotion that they do to move through the forest canopy and it's called brachiation where they have their very long arms and they're actually swinging from branch to branch," said Bateman.

"They can actually come up to speeds of 50 kilometres an hour in the wild and they've been seen jumping 40 to 50 feet in one swoop."

The Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton welcomes a baby white-handed gibbon, one of the fastest of all primates.

3 months ago
Duration 2:15
The Magnetic Hill Zoo is asking the public to help name a baby white-handed gibbon, born at the Zoo in February.

The public is invited to help pick a name for the newest arrival.

There are three to choose from–Milo, Chai or Moe.

Bateman says there have already been more than 800 submissions. The naming contest is open until the end of the day Sunday, and a winner of 4 complimentary passes to the Zoo will be chosen Monday.

Bateman says visitors relate well to the white-handed gibbons due to their expressive faces, and incredible agility.

"Lek is bouncing around in the background, acts very much like a typical toddler doing somersaults and wanting attention and I think everyone who comes here and watches them, really enjoys them and that's really all we're asking, is for people to come to the zoo and create a connection with one of the species or many of the species here," she said.

Mom K'nook keeps a close eye on her baby, as he ventures out on his own. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News)

Bateman hopes it will make visitors think about endangered species like the white-handed gibbons, and perhaps go home and think about a conservation action they can try to help make a difference.

Meanwhile, she's looking forward to watching the family continue to bond.

"Gibbons will actually stay as a family unit for longer than any other non-human primate so we're really excited to see how this family unit keeps growing and interacting over the years," she said.

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