Keepers at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo came across a pleasant surprise on Labor Day morning.
Eve, a 9-year-old Siamang, a kind of gibbon, gave birth to a baby in the early hours of Sept. 7. According to a press release from the zoo, baby and mom seem to be doing well so far.
The birth was an unexpected treat for keeper Kelsey Newman.
"Eve and Wayan (the father) are normally spooning together when we come into work for early-morning checks," said Newman, who was the first to see the baby Siamang. "This morning, I noticed they were sitting a little differently. Then, Wayan moved away from Eve and I saw the little baby's arm. It was a surprise, for sure."
Although Siamangs are endangered in the wild, Eve and Wayan did not have a breeding recommendation. In fact, Eve had been on oral birth control. But since Siamangs don't show signs of pregnancy as obviously as humans, the birth did come as a surprise to keepers. Although unexpected by caretakers, the parents seem to be quickly adjusting to their new roles.
Joanna Husby, Primate World animal care manager, describes Siamangs as the 'romantic apes,' because they're the only ape species that mate for life in the wild, creating tight family bonds.
"We're already seeing great instincts in Wayan," said Husby, who in addition to managing Primate World, is secretary of the Gibbon SSP and has worked directly with gibbons at CMZoo for 12 years. "He's sticking close by without interfering. He's really curious and is being respectful, showing support without taking over."
There are no plans to name the baby, whose gender has not been determined, as of yet.