Meet the Calgary Zoo's newest residents, featured in a new exhibit

·2 min read
A white-handed gibbon swings on a rope at the Calgary Zoo. (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)
A white-handed gibbon swings on a rope at the Calgary Zoo. (Mike Symington/CBC - image credit)

The Calgary Zoo has opened its newest exhibit called Gateway to Asia, with two endangered species ready for their public debut.

Seven-year-old Majimel and four-year-old Maximus are white-handed gibbon brothers who are known for their acrobatics.

"When they are on the ground, they do walk bipedally with their hands up for balance," the zoo's animal care manager, Jennifer Godwin, said Thursday. "They have those big long arms, they can swing across branches."

Wild populations of white-handed gibbons are endangered because of habitat loss from deforestation caused by logging.

Mike Symington/CBC
Mike Symington/CBC

"We have a role to play in helping species at risk by making sustainable choices that can help save critical rainforest habitats," said Jamie Dorgan, the zoo's director of animal care, health and welfare.

Largest species of tapirs in the world

Tanuck, a Malayan tapir, is back at the Calgary Zoo after a long stint away at Parc Safari in Hemmingford, Que.

Tanuck was just a baby the last time he was in Calgary. He's now 20.

Mike Symington/CBC
Mike Symington/CBC

"He's one of the four species of tapir in the world. His is the largest one," said Godwin. "He's got this big long snout that's very adaptive to where it lives."

Tanuck, Majimel and Maximus are joining two Komodo dragons, the largest known living lizards.

Formerly known as Panda Passage

The Komodo dragons aren't new to the zoo. They were moved to their new location because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exhibit was formerly known as the Panda Passage — when four pandas called the building home before they were sent back to China.

Mike Symington/CBC
Mike Symington/CBC

The new animals have stolen the hearts of those who work at the zoo.

"We're super excited to have them," said Godwin. "Tapir and gibbons both live in the forests of Southeast Asia. They can really show us how important forests are, both locally and globally."

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