Yesterday we were thrilled to welcome a new family of gibbons to our sanctuary!
Say hello to the Silver Springs Four: Glenda and Gary, their daughter Kendra, and their son Thai.
Glenda is a sweetheart and very people-friendly. Minutes after they arrived yesterday, she was allowing our staff to pet her toes. And twice today (both times squeaking meekly) she has offered me her belly to blow kisses on. But she’s active and inquisitive: she was the first to start exploring their new outdoor enclosures this morning.
Like Glenda, Gary was probably born around 1975, and they arrived together at Silver Springs in 1983. Gary is a little guy—rather smaller than his long-time mate—but with a lovely blond coat. He seems a little on the timid side but has a good appetite. We already know: Gary likes beets!
The full, official name of Glenda and Gary’s 13-year-old daughter is “Kenabalou;” her previous nickname was “Kenny,” but we have decided to tweak this slightly and now call her “Kendra.” She was persuaded to stick her nose outside her night quarters this morning by the hope of pulling our caregiver Hardy’s hair.
Their 12-year-old son Thai is maybe a little more shy than the others and was the last to emerge from the family’s night quarters this afternoon. Thai may be a big boy, but his dad can still boss him around: yesterday we saw Thai get out of the way repeatedly so that Dad could sit in his preferred spot on their corner perch.
This gibbon family came to us from the classic Silver Springs tourist attraction in Ocala, Florida. The facility is disbanding its animal operations, though they will continue to use the place as a venue for concerts and special events. We were delighted when we learned that the management had chosen to re-home their four gibbons to IPPL.
In a way these gibbons are—literally—already part of the IPPL family: our own Elizabeth, who came here in 1985, is Glenda and Gary’s daughter. Now we all know where she got her lovely blonde coat: it’s just like her dad’s!
This past Sunday, two of our animal caregivers, Meg and Hardy, drove down to Florida to pick up the family. Although Glenda and Gary had previously lived on an island as part of the Silver Springs jungle cruise, since the late 1990s they had been living with their growing family in large enclosures elsewhere in the park. More recently, they had been transferred to catch cages in anticipation of the move.
The gibbons were loaded into three travel crates for the trip, one for mom and dad and one for each of the kids. Glenda and Gary went into their crate willingly, but the kids had to be darted. Their former caregivers said good-bye—and the IPPL team was off.
After an uneventful six hour drive, the IPPL crew arrived. The family was quickly placed into Gibbon House #8, which has two adjoining indoor night quarters. Michael and Cathy, the previous occupants, were moved into Gibbon House #9 a little over a week ago.
Their gibbon neighbors have been showing a lot of interest in the newcomers, especially Elsa. I think she has been especially dramatic today with her vocalizations, foot-drumming, and other raucous territorial displays.
I was curious to know how soon the new family would start asserting itself with its own territorial vocalizations. Earlier in the morning, Glenda had been heard to make a few tentative, surprised “hoo!” calls, but that was all. Well, around 12:15 today our gibbons started to chorus, beginning with the gang in the main gibbon yard some distance away and then joined by the nearby inhabitants of Gibbon Houses #7 and #9.When the chorus first started up, I could see Glenda listening intently. Then she made her way up to the top of her northern lookout tower and started making some trembly “hoo-oo-oo” vocalizations. I thought that might be it–but in less than 10 minutes, I heard her give a full-on female Great Call! (Gary should have joined her, but he was working on some yummy beet slices at the time….)
I think Silver Springs Four are adjusting just fine!
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