For the Good of the Gibbon

Oakland Zoo
November 21, 2018

After 32 years at Oakland Zoo, our male White-handed Gibbon, Nikko, will be finding a new home at Santa Barbara Zoo. Here's why...

Nikko the gibbon came to Oakland Zoo in December 1986 at the age of 3 years old. For many years he has enjoyed and protected his island.

Nikko, the White-handed gibbon Born: 6/23/1983

Last year, after the passing of Gladys, Nikko’s exhibit mate, Oakland Zoo begin the search for a new female partner since gibbons are pair bonded and very social.

Gladys, the White-handed Gibbon: 01/01/1999 -12/25/2017

It proved to be very challenging to find a partner for Nikko as a non-breeding, older male, until, an opportunity arose to send him to Santa Barbara with a 40 year old female, Jasmine, and a 4 year old adolescent, Jari.

Jari, 4 (left) with Jasmine, 40 (right) Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Zoo

Jari was born at the Jackson Zoo and rejected by her mother. Keepers at Jackson Zoo placed with a surrogate mother, who unfortunately passed away. She was then sent to Santa Barbara and Jasmine became her new surrogate mother.

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Zoo

After careful consideration and for the welfare of Nikko, it was decided that moving to join this pair was his best option as a blended family.

Photo: Steven Gotz

We know that many guests and staff alike love to visit Nikko, so we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to wish him farewell and good luck. We also encourage guests to post photos of Nikko with the hashtag #DearNikko to share any memories, funny stories, or just to generally say goodbye. We'll miss you Nikko!

Photo: Andrew Lincoln