August 5, 2023 9:56 pm
Christchurch, New Zealand
A new siamang has swung in to Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand. Nine year old male, Suka has made the move half-way around the world from Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium. Recently he completed his quarantine period and was introduced to 10 year old female, Basuki. She is said to be pleased with her new mate, good news as siamangs mate for life.
Exotic Species Manager Rachael Mason says: “Suka’s transfer is really important for conservation efforts for these incredible apes because he is a new founder animal for the Australasian region, introducing new genetics.” His transfer to Aotearoa was a joint recommendation from species co-ordinators at both the Zoo Aquarium Association Australasia and the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria’s as part of the managed conservation programme for these stunning simians.
Rachael adds that: “Suka, meaning ‘adored’, is a very sweet natured animal, a gentle boy who has been playfully interacting with his keepers, before being introduced to Basuki. Basuki has turned into quite a flirt and made it her mission to woo her new suiter. Both siamangs have a very similar playful nature and since being introduced always spend time together. The zoo team is very hopeful of them producing baby siamangs in the future. Basuki herself was the last siamang born at Orana in 2013.”
Suka isn’t the only siamang on the move. To make room for his arrival Peggy, a former resident of Orana Wildlife Park made the move to Hamilton Zoo. Here she will be reunited with her father, Itam as a companion. Peggy was the first siamang to live at Orana Wildlife Park when she arrived in 2005.
One of the key features of the siamang is the loud vocal sac which is used to perform duets with their family members. Rachel was pleased to report the new pair were quick to show off this behaviour, “We have been thrilled to hear Suka and Basuki singing together.”
Orana Wildlife Park participate in the regional breeding program for this threatened species. Their numbers are decreasing due to habitat clearance, primarily for palm oil plantations along with hunting for the illegal wildlife trade.
Author – Cale Russell
Cale has operated The Animal Facts since 2012. During this time he has volunteered and worked across a range of Australian Wildlife Parks something he continues to today. He holds a certificate in Animal Care and Husbandry.
The siamang is the largest member of the gibbon family. On average they are twice the size of other gibbons.
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