Introducing Dooku, the Baby Gibbon Born at the Utica Zoo in January

Utica, NY – The Utica Zoo is thrilled to announce the much-anticipated name of their newest addition, a baby gibbon born at the end of January. After much consideration and with great pleasure, they introduce “Dooku” as the chosen name for the playful primate. This exciting announcement comes with heartfelt gratitude towards the Carbone Family, who generously sponsored the baby gibbon with a remarkable $10,000 gift.

Dooku’s arrival to the world brought immense joy to both the Utica Zoo staff and visitors alike. Born to the resident lar gibbons, Snowflake and Yoda, this little primate has quickly stolen the hearts of everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him.

Dooku was named after the character in the Star Wars franchise who was an apprentice of Yoda. The Utica Zoo and Carbone family felt that the name was appropriate, given the primate’s relationship with father, Yoda. The name perfectly captures the baby gibbon’s lively and mischievous personality, mirroring the spirit of adventure that resides within the Utica Zoo community. However, unlike the character, the staff don’t anticipate this Dooku to turn to the dark side any time soon.

The process of selecting the perfect name for the baby gibbon was an important and thoughtful endeavor. The Carbone Family, known for their continuous philanthropic efforts, graciously stepped forward with their generous sponsorship, allowing them the privilege of naming the baby gibbon. Their remarkable contribution will help further the Zoo’s mission of conservation and animal welfare.

“We are delighted to name this adorable baby gibbon ‘Dooku,’ a name that we believe embodies their vibrant energy and playful nature,” said Enessa Carbone, the spokesperson for the Carbone Family. “Our family is honored to be part of the Utica Zoo’s conservation efforts, and we hope that Dooku’s journey will inspire others to appreciate and protect our diverse wildlife.”

Dooku’s presence at the Utica Zoo serves as a testament to the dedication and commitment of the organization to the conservation of endangered species. The zoo remains steadfast in its mission to educate the public about the importance of wildlife preservation and environmental stewardship.

For more information about Dooku, the Utica Zoo, or how to support our ongoing conservation efforts, please visit our website at

Pictured L-R: Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Heath, Sal Raspante & Enessa Carbone, Utica Zoo Board Member Heather Sweet.

Additional Facts About White-Handed Gibbons:

  • White-handed gibbons are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. This is due, in part, to the flourishing illegal pet trade in Thailand in which they are hunted, captured, traded, and exploited. The deforestation of their forest habitat is also a threat and is becoming more of a problem.
  • What is the social structure of a white-handed gibbon? White-handed gibbons live in social family groups of two to six members, typically consisting of a mated pair and their offspring. The species is mostly monogamous, with an adult breeding couple usually forming lifelong bonds.
  • These pairs usually give birth to one infant gibbon every 2 to 2.5 years. Typically, the baby gibbon clings to its mother’s belly for most of its first year. However, since the father stays around as part of the family unit, the dad may carry the gibbon as the baby gets older. The babies will then start to spend time away from their family unit when they turn about 6. They will reach maturity between 6 and 10 years old. During this time, younger siblings may be born. At any one time, as many as 4 offspring may live within a gibbon’s family unit.

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The Utica Zoo will close at 3pm on 12/31 and will reopen with normal hours on 1/1!