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Duke the Gibbon at the Greensboro Science Center | NC Weekend | UNC-TV

December 4, 2019


>>>THE GREENSBORO SCIENCE
CENTER HOSTS MANY FASCINATING ANIMALS YOUR FAMILY WOULD LOVE
TO VISIT, INCLUDING LEMURS, WALLABIES, AND EVEN TIGERS. NEXT, WE’LL MEET THE ANIMAL WHO
IS PERHAPS THE MOST SPECIAL OF ALL, A YOUNG GIBBON NAMED DUKE.>>OF ALL THE ADAPTATIONS THAT
HAVE SUSTAINED HUMANS ON THIS PLANET, PERHAPS THE MOST
IMPORTANT IS AN INNATE DRIVE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER THROUGH
DIFFICULT TIMES. OUR PASSION TO COMFORT BURNS SO
STRONG THAT IT EVEN EXTENDS TO OTHER SPECIES IN THE ANIMAL
KINGDOM. FOR EVIDENCE OF THIS PHENOMENON,
LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE GREENSBORO SCIENCE CENTER WHERE
ON APRIL 29, 2013, A BABY JAVAN GIBBON NAMED DUKE WAS BORN INTO
HUMANITY’S CRADLE OF ALTRUISM.>>I KNOW YOU’RE COLD.>>WHEN THE STAFF DISCOVERED HIM
FOLLOWING HIS BIRTH, HIS MOTHER WAS NOT CARING FOR HIM, AND HIS
BODY WAS WEAK.>>HE WAS JUST ON THE FLOOR. SO — AND THAT’S ACTUALLY REALLY
COMMON WITH FIRST-TIME PARENTS. THEY AREN’T SURE WHAT TO DO, SO
THEY WILL ABANDON THEM.>>FACED WITH THIS DILEMMA, THE
ZOOKEEPERS WITH HELP FROM VOLUNTEERS ACTED AS PROXY
MOTHERS, GIVING DUKE SOMEONE TO CLING TO WHEN ALL HOPE SEEMED
LOST.>>SO WE HAD TO MAKE THESE FUR
APRONS, AND HE WOULD ACTUALLY CLING TO THE APRON.>>THE STAFF MADE SURE DUKE
DEVELOPED ARM STRENGTH SINCE GIBBONS MOSTLY MOVE FROM PLACE
TO PLACE BY SWINGING WITH A HAND-OVER-HAND MOTION CALLED
BRACHIATING.>>WHEN WE’D ACTUALLY DO DIAPER
CHANGES, WE WOULD HAVE HIM HOLD ONTO OUR FINGERS. AND SO HE’D ACTUALLY LEARN TO DO
PULL-UPS.>>BECAUSE BABY GIBBONS NEED
CONTACT WITH SOMEONE AROUND THE CLOCK, ZOOKEEPERS AND VOLUNTEERS
TOOK TURNS SLEEPING SITING UP WITH DUKE CLINGING TO THE APRON
AND SLEEPING TOO.>>YOU DO KIND OF GET THAT BOND
WITH HIM, AND HE GETS THAT BOND WITH YOU AND THE OTHER STAFF
JUST BECAUSE HE’S USED TO YOU BEING THERE. HE ACTUALLY ADJUSTED REALLY WELL
WHEN WE GAVE HIM BACK TO MOM.>>DUKE AND HIS PARENTS BONDED. THOUGH THE GIBBON FAMILY GREW
ACCUSTOMED TO FACING LIFE TOGETHER, DUKE’S ADVENTUROUS
SPIRIT RESULTED IN A SECOND TRAGEDY IN OCTOBER OF 2014.>>HE’S ALWAYS GETTING INTO
SOMETHING, SO IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY SURPRISE ME. BUT HE PROBABLY WAS JUST GOOFING
AROUND AND, YOU KNOW, BRACHIATING, AND JUST FELL AND
GOT HURT. SO THEN WHEN THEY WENT TO GO DO
A KEEPER TOSS THAT DAY AND HE WOULDN’T LEAVE THAT SPOT, THEN
THEY KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG, BECAUSE THEN HIS ARM WAS JUST
KIND OF DANGLING. SO WHEN I SAW HIM, HE WAS JUST
RESTING IT, AND HE WASN’T UPSET ABOUT IT. HE WASN’T CRYING ABOUT IT. HE WAS JUST LIKE SOMETHING
HAPPENED, BUT I’M GOING TO STAY HERE.>>FORTUNATELY FOR DUKE, ONCE
AGAIN, HIS CAREGIVERS INTERVENED. DR. BRIAN TRUMPATORI FROM THE
VETERINARY SPECIALTY HOSPITAL OF THE CAROLINAS PERFORMED SURGERY.>>IT WAS BROKEN. THE ONLY WAY TO GET IT TO HEAL
PROPERLY WAS TO PUT THE ROD AND THE PINS BACK IN FOR IT TO HEAL.>>THE SURGERY WAS A SUCCESS,
BUT DUKE HAD TO MOVE INTO A ROOM WITH NO CLIMBING STRUCTURES SO
THAT HE WOULD REST HIS ARM.>>WE’D FEED HIM, TRY TO KEEP
HIM ENTERTAINED AS MUCH AS WE COULD. HE JUST — HE SEEMED NERVOUS,
LIKE HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. SO PEOPLE STARTED DONATING
BLANKETS. WE HAVE REALLY BIG STUFFED
ANIMALS FOR HIM. SO WE HAD ALL SORTS OF STUFF FOR
HIM TO DO. AND THEN JUST BECAUSE HE IS A
PRIMATE AND SOCIALLY WE WANTED TO GIVE HIM SOMETHING, WE GAVE
HIM A TV TO WATCH DURING THE DAY.>>AFTER THE ARM BEGAN TO HEAL,
DUKE WAS MOVED TO HIS HOLDING AREA FOR A FEW WEEKS TO HAVE
ACCESS TO A FEW CLIMBING OPPORTUNITIES. THIS ALLOWED HIS ARMS TO
STRENGTHEN IN PREPARATION FOR HIS RETURN TO THE PUBLIC VIEWING
AREA.>>I’M EXCITED, BECAUSE I THINK
HE’LL BE REALLY HAPPY TO GO BACK OUTSIDE AND MOVE AROUND. AND, YOU KNOW, HE’S DOING REALLY
WELL IN THE BACK, BUT YOU CAN TELL HE WANTS TO GO OUT.>>ON DECEMBER 17th, 2014, DUKE
FINALLY RECEIVED MEDICAL CLEARANCE TO RETURN TO HIS
EXHIBIT AREA. WHEN IN GREENSBORO, SHOULD YOU
CHOOSE TO VISIT DUKE AND SHARE IN THE JOY OF HIS RETURN TO
CLIMBING AND SWINGING, YOU MAY PERHAPS TAKE A MOMENT TO
CONSIDER MANY SPECIAL THINGS ABOUT HIM. HE LIVES IN ONLY ONE OF TWO
JAVAN GIBBON FACILITIES ACCREDITED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF
ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS. HE IS ONLY ONE OF EIGHT JAVAN
GIBBONS BORN IN CAPTIVITY EVER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. AND PERHAPS MOST MIRACULOUS,
DUKE IS A REMINDER OF HOW MUCH WE CARE.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Lakelyn I the best Ray August 21, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    God bless the staff and the volunteers @ Greensboro science Center NC you have taken such good care of Duke, do you still have him if so how is he doing and do u have anymore video of him??? Thanks for sharing video of one of Gods beautiful creations .” he is beautiful and the look in his eyes says thank you & for being so good to me I will always be a good little boy and I will always love you …

  • Reply Pamela Smith October 9, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Try getting a smaller nipple for the baby

  • Reply Max November 20, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Send the little tree rat off to the labs for experimentation.

  • Reply Mahri Beneda August 21, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    I wish do the same for abandon human baby's.

  • Reply Jane Book November 1, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    hope the raise the vermin up good ,then give it the old vivisection treatment ,they need and deserve that !!!!

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