GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KAKE) - Lee Richardson Zoo is happy to announce that Violet, an endangered siamang, has given birth to her first baby.  The infant was born on May 23rd and is the first for parents, Violet and Zoli.  The new family appears to be doing fine. 

Keepers found Violet holding the baby Tuesday morning during the first-morning check.  Staff have been monitoring the family since, paying close attention to maternal behaviors, the baby’s strength and activity, as well as how Dad is fitting in with the new dynamic.

“We’re always cautious with first-time moms, but so far Violet is doing really well, and the baby is nursing and holding on strong.  Dad is mostly keeping his distance for now, and is respecting mom and baby,” said Deputy Director Joe Knobbe. “We’re hoping to confirm the gender of the infant in the coming days.”

The birth is the result of a breeding recommendation from the Siamang Species Survival Plan program, which coordinates population management for the species within member institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  Together AZA members and their partners are working to help save siamangs through education, scientific research, fieldwork, public awareness, and conservation action.

Native to Sumatra and Malaysia, siamangs are an endangered lesser ape.  They are highly adapted for life in the trees and well known for their call, which can be heard for miles.  Destruction of the rainforests that they live in is the main cause of their predicament.  You can help siamangs in the wild by purchasing products that use sustainably produced palm oil, which does not contribute to the destruction of the rainforests.

The family resides in the Wild Asia area at Lee Richardson Zoo.  The new family currently has access to both their indoor quarters and outdoor habitat.