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Gibbon recently moved to Santa Barbara Zoo dies unexpectedly

Posted at 3:59 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 22:08:50-05

The Santa Barbara Zoo says a 35-year-old white-handed gibbon that was recently moved to their facility from the Oakland Zoo has died.

It’s believed Nikko succumbed to a previously undiagnosed cancer.

Zoo officials say Nikko showed a decrease in appetite starting Monday, Dec. 10 and died on Sunday, Dec. 16 while on his way to veterinary internal medicine specialists for advanced testing.

A necropsy reportedly found a mass in his upper abdomen and abnormalities of both kidneys and the liver. Zoo officials say it will take up to four weeks to determine if it was, in fact, cancer.

Nikko had been in quarantine since arriving at the Santa Barbara Zoo on November 27, but he had reportedly begun introductions to the zoo’s other two gibbons, Jasmine and Jari.

Jasmine (l) and Nikko (r) at the Santa Barbara Zoo. (Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Zoo)


Zoo officials say he went through an extensive exam that included blood tests, an ultrasound, and an EKG before leaving Oakland and no abnormalities were found.

Nikko’s body will reportedly be returned to the Oakland Zoo for burial.