Hamilton Zoo new home for retired siamang couple


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1/07/2009 12:00:00 a.m.

1 July 2009

A siamang couple will live out their retirement years at Hamilton Zoo, after relocating to the facility from Auckland Zoo today.

Thirty-year-old Iuri and 25-year-old Itam have resided at Auckland Zoo since the late 1980s and during this time have reared six offspring – many of whom now reside at other zoos throughout Australasia.

Now retired from breeding and on contraception, Iuri and Itam's move to Hamilton makes way at Auckland Zoo for their son Iwani to be paired with Kera, a female siamang from Mogo Zoo in New South Wales who is due to arrive at the facility by early September.

Siamangs are tailless, arboreal, black furred gibbons that form monogamous pairs for life. Found in Sumatra and Malaysia, they advertise their possession of territory by attractive 'song duets' that can be heard across the forest canopy.

Hamilton Zoo director Stephen Standley said with Iuri and Itam's move going smoothly, staff now look forward to helping the pair settle into their new surroundings.

"This is the first time we have housed siamangs here at Hamilton Zoo so it is great for our visitors to now be able to see these amazing animals firsthand," he said.

"One of our existing rainforest exhibits was renovated especially for their arrival, so we hope Iuri and Itam will make themselves at home and we look forward to hearing their song duet right here in Hamilton before too long."

Auckland Zoo primate team leader Amy Dixon said while it was sad to see the pair leave Auckland, it is comforting to know they haven't moved too far.

"Iuri and Itam are lovely natured animals and have been with us at Auckland Zoo since the late 1980s, so it is really sad to say goodbye," said Ms Dixon.

"Together they have made an amazing contribution to the captive breeding programme for siamangs, successfully rearing six offspring. Now at 25 and 30 years old (well over middle-aged in siamang years) it's the best possible outcome that they relocate to Hamilton Zoo to enjoy their retirement.

"Being just an hour's drive away also means that those of us that have worked closely with Iuri and Itam can always visit, which we're very pleased about."

Iuri and Itam's relocation to Hamilton Zoo was filmed by Greenstone Pictures and will feature on the next series of The Zoo.


Name: Stephen Standley
Designation: Hamilton Zoo Director
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6954
Mobile: 021 912 113
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6960
Name: Kylee Bruce
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile: 021 816 917
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761
Page reviewed: 01 Jul 2009 12:00am