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Arranged Affair for Wellington Zoo Gibbons

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25 October 2005

Arranged Affair for Wellington Zoo Gibbons

Wellington Zoo’s latest arrival, Robyn the Gibbon, will experience life in the arms of a different male for the first time when she is released into her new home with mate Vilson.

Following a plane trip from Australia and four weeks in Wellington Zoo quarantine, Robyn will be introduced to Vilson behind the scenes so Zoo Keepers can be sure the two Gibbons are compatible.

“Initially they were housed next to each other to see if they were going to get along,” says Wellington Zoo Curator of Primates, Suzette Nicholson.

Although the two Gibbons haven’t yet met face-to-face, Zoo neighbours may have heard the return of Vilson’s morning call.

“Vilson did not call as often after his daughter Nellie left to go to Perth Zoo, but after hearing Robyn calling back he has really perked up,” says Wellington Zoo Keeper Phil Whisker.

“Vilson’s call has been heard from three kilometres away,” says Phil

Robyn has so far proven to be a friendly and outgoing Gibbon with a slightly mischievous side.

“She’s 13 years old, but she does forward rolls and shows off,” says Phil.

White-cheeked Gibbons are endangered and Wellington Zoo hopes Vilson and Robyn will breed as part of the Australasian breeding programme operating in zoos throughout Australasia.

“We are also hopeful that Perth Zoo will breed with Nellie and continue her valuable bloodline,” says Suzette.


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