Cute alert: Assiniboine Park Zoo welcomes newborn white-handed gibbon

Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo has an adorable new arrival — a baby gibbon born to Maya and Samson, two white-handed gibbons at the zoo.

Infant born Monday is 3rd child of gibbon pair Maya and Samson

A close up photo of a baby gibbon in a zoo habitat.
A new baby gibbon was born at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo this week. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo has an adorable new arrival.

A new baby gibbon was born Monday to Maya and Samson, two white-handed gibbons who were matched on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' species survival plan program.

So far, mom and baby are in good health and are bonding well, while its big siblings are being very respectful, said Fran Donnelly, an animal care professional at the zoo. 

"It's a really great family dynamic that they're developing," Donnelly said. 

On Friday, Maya could be seen swinging around her habitat with the tiny primate latched onto her belly. 

A gibbon in a zoo habitat with a baby latched to its stomach.
So far, Maya the gibbon and her new baby are happy and healthy, zoo staff say. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

This is the pair's third baby. 

In 2019, the two had their first child, Salju, who was the first infant born at the zoo's gibbon habitat. 

Their second child, Merrick, was born in 2021. 

The sex of the new baby isn't known yet.

Its name might be chosen by the public through an online survey, similar to how its siblings got their names, Donnelly said. 

"We may do that again, or it may be a [zoo]keeper naming situation. Each offspring is a little bit different," she said. 

White-handed gibbons are an endangered species that are native to southeast Asia. 

Two gibbons sit on tree branches in their zoo habitat.
This is the third baby gibbon born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo to Maya and Samson. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

They're typically "found in the canopy of the trees — so they like to be way up high," Donnelly said, adding that visitors can expect similar behaviour at the gibbons' habitat at the zoo. 

"You can always look way up high as well, because they like hanging out in the rafters and at the windows."

The gibbon exhibit was closed to visitors for most of the week following the birth but will reopen Saturday. 

There were no gibbons at the zoo for a while after the old monkey house was closed in 2011 because it didn't meet modern standards. Maya was born at the Winnipeg zoo shortly before that monkey house was closed. 

She lived at Safari Niagara, a private zoo in Ontario, until the new exhibit opened in the former lion pavilion at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in 2017. 

Baby gibbon born at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg

4 months ago
Duration 0:46
A family of white-handed gibbons has a new addition after a baby was born earlier this week at Assiniboine Park Zoo.


Sarah Petz


Sarah Petz is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. She was previously based at CBC New Brunswick. Her career has taken her across three provinces and includes a stint in East Africa. She can be reached at or @sarahrosepetz on Twitter.