The new Alan Mootnick, safe in Phy Gyi's embrace
Alan Mootnick was born Christmas Day at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Saugus.
That’s right. Gabriella Skollar, lead primate keeper at the small-ape sanctuary, announced Thursday that a new gibbon was born and it was named Alan Mootnick – “Alan” or “Big Al” for short.
The ape’s namesake, the human Alan Mootnick, died Nov. 4 from complications following heart surgery. Mootnick, 60, founded the sanctuary in Santa Clarita in 1976.
Skollar said the new ape’s mother, Phy Gyi, showed signs of labor Dec. 24. Skollar checked on her at 11 o’clock that night and she was in bed and quiet. Next thing Skollar knew, at 6:30 a.m., mom was holding her new baby.
Skollar said Phy Gyi allows dad, named Arthur, to observe and touch the infant. Mother and child are doing well, she said.
The new Alan Mootnick is an Easter Hoolock gibbon. The original Alan Mootnick was a member of the team that identified and named the rare, endangered species. His Gibbon Conservation Center off of Bouquet Canyon Road near Lombardi Ranch is one of the few institutions in the world that breeds the species outside of its native habitat in Myanmar and Yunnan Province, China.
“We believe (the original) Alan Mootnick is smiling down upon him,” Skollar said.
The new Alan Mootnick, safe in Phy Gyi’s embrace