The Gibbon Conservation Center in Saugus has welcomed the newest member of its family, a male baby Javan Gibbon named Rocky.
Below is an account of the birth and care the Gibbon Center gave to the newborn.
On July 2 after many hours of pushing Oula gave birth to a baby boy. It was a rough labor as he was positioned sunny side up. The baby wasn’t moving or vocal and staff believed that is why she ended up rejecting him. Thankfully staff had been watching and when it became obvious she would not pick him up the center retrieved him. His face and tongue were incredibly swollen and bruised but he let out a little sound so we were hopeful.
Staff began feeding with a very small syringe as it was too hard to suckle with his swollen tongue. By the second day the swelling on his face had gone down, by the third day he could suckle on the bottle and by the end of the week the bruising had diminished. The center was initially very concerned as he showed some other signs of health issues, but this little guy seemed like a fighter. That fighting spirit earned him the name Rocky.
It has only been three and a half weeks but this Rocky seems to be thriving. He’s eating every three hours and pooping just as often. He’s very attached to his surrogate bear and is spending more time awake. Last week, he started vocalizing in his sleep, this week he started singing along with the other gibbons in the center.
Family is very important to young gibbons which is why the center does not intervene unless absolutely necessary. For the first few days after his birth Oula was curious enough to glance from a distance but didn’t seem that interested. Once the baby became more vocal her interest grew she came down to watch him. Now she and her partner will briefly take turns touching the baby and give one another a hug.
It is very encouraging to see the progress but it will be about a year before staff can attempt to put him back with his family. Oula is no longer producing milk and gibbons nurse for two to three years. The center will begin introducing bites of food at three months but for now he is exclusively on formula. Staff have already started their third can of formula this month and are hoping to raise funds to offset some of the expenses by throwing him a baby shower.
To donate and help baby Rocky click on the link.