The rare Javan gibbon named Owa only survived his first few months because dedicated Perth Zoo staff cared for him around the clock after his mother wasn’t able to produce enough milk for him.
Primate supervisor Holly Thompson said the zoo had an exceptionally good track record in this area and had successfully hand-reared four white-cheeked gibbons, although Owa was its first Javan gibbon.
‘It is difficult to rear a primate and introduce it back to its family, so it’s not something we took on lightly,’ she said.
‘Life has become a blur of nappies, milk formula and sleepless nights and our veterinary department now features a portacot, having been turned into a temporary nursery.
‘But it’s certainly a labour of love.’
Just like any other newborn, Owa has six bottle feeds a day and has started to enjoy mashed fruit and vegetables.
It is anticipated that he would return to his family once he is old enough and weaned off his milk feeds.
Javan gibbons are Java’s last remaining ape and are endangered due to habitat destruction and the pet trade.