By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane

HAPPILY SWINGING AROUND his enclosure, it’s hard to believe this gibbon had a difficult start to life

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Videographer / Director: Nikolai Ankergren
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Grant Hanson-Vaux

When he was a baby, Carlos’ mother couldn’t look after him due to a breast infection and he almost died.

Carlos was hand reared by Joan Thygesen and Jorgen Ankergren, the directors and founders of the Foundation Odsherred Zoo Rescue, where Carlos was born - and still lives.
Joan told Barcroft TV: "His mother and father are living in a big group here in the park. He was born here in the zoo, and when he was about a month old we could see that he was hanging off his mother"

"He wasn’t getting enough food from his mother, we discovered that she had a breast infection so she couldn’t give him any milk. So we had to make a decision, were we going to let him die or were we going to take him out and bottle feed him?”

Having a young gibbon in the house wasn’t always easy for the pair, and they found it similar to caring for a human child.

Joan said: "It was like having a newborn baby in the house. We had to sleep with Carlos very close to us every night. Every few hours he was awake and hungry and we had to give him a bottle, and that went on, and on for three months so we were actually very, very tired.

"After three months we could take him out to the baby bed, next to our bed,and after a little while we took him into another room. Little small steps every time and actually after five months we could sleep a whole night!”

Carlos not only lived in the house with Joan and Jorgen, but also with a small tamarin named Fie.

Joan said: “The tamarin’s mother rejected the small tamarin, so we had to take her in together with Carlos and take care of her too.

"They were very good friends, they were playing, sleeping and eating together. I think the interaction was very good and healthy for both of them."

As Carlos grew older, they took special precautions to ensure his environment was as natural as possible by creating a playroom similar to his future enclosure.

Joan told Barcroft TV: “After a while we had to think about when he was going to live apart from us, so we made a playroom for him and that had straw on the floor, and a lot of things he could crawl on.

"We were making the playroom so he was prepared for the bigger enclosure that he was going to after a while.

"The purpose here was to make sure that we weren’t making Carlos a pet.”

Finally it was time for Joan and Jorgen to take Carlos to the zoo’s bigger, outdoor enclosure, to meet the other gibbons in the zoo.

Joan said: “The experience for Carlos when we were taking him from the playroom to the outdoor enclosure at the zoo, was of course a little overwhelming.

"But after a while we could see that he actually found it really funny, because he was at that age now where he was curious. So as long as he could see Jorgen, or he could see me, everything was wonderful."

Unfortunately Carlos cannot be directly put in the enclosure with the other gibbons, as they may become aggressive towards him due to him being hand-reared.

However he is in an enclosure next door, where he can see and call to them.

Now at eight-years-old, hopefully soon Carlos will be able to be integrated with a female gibbon at the zoo.

Joan said: “The next step with Carlos is to put him together with another gibbon. We have a female in the park, she is a year younger than Carlos so the plan for the winter is to build a new house for them and a nice enclosure and that is the next step in Carlos’ journey."