Japanese zoo solves mystery of isolated gibbon’s pregnancy

A little hole in a board is to blame, according to a Japanese zoo, for how a gibbon got pregnant while living alone.

A lar gibbon named Momo gave birth in February 2021, surprising the zookeepers at Kujukushima Zoo and Botanical Garden Mori Kirara in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, as the monkey had been living in her own enclosure without any males present.

According to officials, Momo was fiercely protective of her young, so it took them nearly two years to gather enough samples of the mother and child’s stool and excrement for DNA analysis.

Itou, an active gibbon who is 34 years old, was identified as the father of the male infant. Although zookeepers said the two monkeys were never on display together, they found a perforated board with holes around 9 millimetres (.35 inches) in diameter between Momo’s exhibit and the backyard, where Itou was kept when not on display.

The apes may have managed to procreate via one of the openings, according to officials.

A sturdy steel plate has now taken the place of the board. In order for Itou, Momo, and their child to live together as a family, officials claimed they are now preparing to try and introduce them officially.

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