Igor was born in the wild, but spent 26 years in two research facilities. In 1987, he was allowed to “retire” to IPPL, but he came with mental issues. During his years in research he became a self-mutilator, hurting himself whenever he saw another gibbon. As a result, he was forced to live isolated behind black Plexiglass.
Knowing his past, we wanted to make Igor as comfortable as possible. IPPL members generously contributed funds for a special house to be built in a remote area of the sanctuary, where he could live secluded from the other gibbons. But, he could hear them and watch the wildlife in the nearby woods. Eventually, we discovered he was peeping below a seam in the plywood panels to watch two of his gibbon neighbors. The barriers came down, giving Igor an unobstructed view of the other gibbons for over 12 years.
Clearly, everything we did for this special gibbon worked- because from the day he arrived – Igor never self-mutilated again. After 26 years in research labs, Igor was with us for 27 years before suffering a stroke. We like to think that, on balance, his life had more joy than sorrow. Thanks to IPPL’s great animal care staff and our wonderful supporters, we were able to provide the extra attention that Igor needed and deserved.