With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, love is in the air for some of the primates at Lee Richardson Zoo after the zoo announced it is now home for a new breeding pair of siamangs and a pair of pygmy slow lorises. 

While both species have called the zoo home for years, these pairs are made of some individuals who arrived at the zoo only recently.

“Lee Richardson Zoo Animal Care staff is excited to have the new siamang and pygmy slow loris pairs settling in so well,” General Curator Sarah Colman said in a press release. “We are very pleased that the Species Survival Plans for siamang and pygmy slow loris chose our zoo for these important breeding pairs.  We are committed to doing our part to help conserve and protect these unique and fascinating primates.”

New male siamang Zoli joined the zoo’s resident female siamang Suki late in 2017. Zoli was born and raised at Louisville Zoo. Zoli and Suki were identified as a well-matched pair based on their genetics by the Siamang Species Survival Plan. 

Zoli and Suki spent some time getting to know each other during a mandatory quarantine period and are now together full time, according to the zoo.

The siamang habitat is located in the Wild Asia section of the zoo, which is also home to another new primate couple, Sinh and Romano the pygmy slow lorises. 

The male, Sinh, came to the zoo from El Paso Zoo, and the female, Romano, was born and raised at the Columbus Zoo. Both arrived at the zoo in late 2017 after receiving a breeding recommendation from the Pygmy Slow Loris Species Survival Plan. 

After a mandatory quarantine period, they spent some time getting to know each other in an off-exhibit area before moving to their permanent habitat. Guests can visit Sinh and Romano daily at their home in the Wild Asia Nocturnal Building.

Siamangs are native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand and are the largest species of gibbon in the world. Known for their graceful and acrobatic movements through the rainforest trees, the arboreal siamang almost never descends to the ground. Mated pairs of siamangs usually stay together for life and pairs will sing a unique duet each day to advertise their territory to other siamangs in the area. The siamang is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the rapid loss of their rainforest homes to logging and palm oil plantations.

Pygmy slow lorises are native to the forests of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and China. These small primates are nocturnal and have specialized teeth for feeding on the sap of trees. They are capable of mixing a secretion from glands near their elbows with their saliva to produce a toxin thought to aid in defense against predators. The pygmy slow loris is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat loss from logging and agriculture. They are also impacted by their use in the illegal wildlife trade as pets and sources of traditional medicine.