Today we accepted a new gibbon at the IPPL sanctuary!
Spanky is an eight-year-old male, born October 18, 2005. He’s a white-handed gibbon from Texas who was given to his former “owner” as a gift when he was only eight months old. However, in March his owner contacted us, saying that she was no longer able to care for him because of her health problems and that she was trying to find a suitable “forever home” for this handsome little guy.
We agreed to accept Spanky on condition that his former owner sign an agreement stating that, in the future, she would never again purchase or accept into her care any other (nonhuman) primate. When she agreed, we decided to take him in. Her husband even told us that, in his experience, “there are some people out there who should never keep a primate.”
Spanky is a lovely, healthy-looking little gibbon. But, as is true of many ex-pet primates, Spanky has already had dental extractions—in his case, all four of his canines have been removed.
According to his former owner, Spanky enjoys watermelons, bananas, grapes, and sweet potatoes but dislikes cucumbers and squash. He also likes blackberries. His owner’s husband told us a story about how once the two of them went blackberry picking with Spanky in a four-wheeler some years ago and how Spanky kept stealing blackberries from his owner’s coffee tin. They only realized this when they noticed no berries in the tin but a very contented Spanky sitting nearby with a purple mouth. As it happens, we have blackberry vines growing just outside his quarantine house!
We have been warned: he likes to steal hats and glasses (he isn’t called Spanky for nothing…). He also enjoys cuddling with a blanket, so we have provided him with one. And, as we saw today, he loves being groomed.
Gibbons can live to be 50 years of age or more (like IPPL’s Igor, Blackie, or Gibby), so young Spanky could well outlive any of us humans with him today. That’s why we know that accepting him for permanent care is a serious undertaking, and not one we ever do lightly.
Spanky’s arrival brings the number gibbons at the IPPL sanctuary to 37. Now we just need to be extra-alert for an unwanted gibbon gal out there to keep him company….
“And,” says Shirley, “we hope our supporters will continue to help fund the care of Spanky and all the other gibbons who have found a permanent home with IPPL!”