Jasmine has a new playmate, and the white-handed gibbon seemingly is very excited about it.
The Santa Barbara Zoo introduced Bono to the public on Monday morning, with the 37-year-old male white-handed gibbon moving to Santa Barbara after 35 years at the Sequoia Park Zoo.
Bono will be a companion to the 42-year-old Jasmine, with both recently losing their companions — something the Association of Zoos and Aquariums took into account when matching them.
Bono’s arrival comes just six months after the tragic loss of Santa Barbara favorite Jari, a young white-handed gibbon that got tangled in the enrichment net in the exhibit.
“Gibbons are social creatures and live in lifelong monogamous pairs,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the zoo’s vice president of animal care and health. “We have been looking for a companion for Jasmine since her elderly male mate Gulliver passed away in 2016. After losing her younger companion, Jari, last year, we’re hopeful Bono will be a wonderful match. We look forward to Jasmine and Bono living out their golden years here with us at the Santa Barbara Zoo.”
Bono and Jasmine have hit it off, with a video on the zoo’s Facebook page showcasing them grooming each other and playing like they were children.
“Since Bono arrived, Jasmine’s been exhibiting positive behaviors I’ve never seen before in the 15 years I’ve worked with her. We are happy to see her so engaged,” said Heather Leith, a senior zookeeper.
Bono was born to parents Sonny and Cher at the Yerkes Primate Lab in Atlanta, eventually pairing with a female at the Sequoia Park Zoo at the age of two.