Monkey’s miracle pregnancy due to a glory hole, zoo discovers

Monkey glory hole

A 12-year-old white-handed gibbon in Japan is believed to have become pregnant through a glory hole at her zoo. Yes, really. 

Zookeepers at Nagasaki’s Kujukushima Zoo and Botanical Garden couldn’t understand how Momo, who had lived by herself and never had a male visitor, had managed to get pregnant. 

But earlier this month, after two years of research, they revealed a 34-year-old agile gibbon named Itoh was the father of Momo’s baby.

In a bid to find the father of Momo’s child the zoo tasked a researcher to compare DNA from mum and baby’s hair and stool samples of four potential fathers, Vice News reported.

Zoo superintendent Jun Yamano told Vice it took so long to identify Momo’s lover because she was a protective of her baby and they couldn’t get “close enough to collect samples”. 

After discovering the identity of the baby gibbon’s father, the zoo paid close attention to where the mischievous parents went throughout the day. 

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‘They copulated through a hole’

They found that they were never placed in the same cage together, but were in close proximity in an exhibition area at the zoo, where they would alternate.

The exhibition area, which was right in front of Momo’s cage, was separated by a makeshift partition: a board with holes. 

Yamano informed Vice that the hole, which measured a little more than a third of an inch (9 millimeters) in diameter, had allowed the apes to put more than just their fingers through it. 

He concluded: “We think it’s very likely that on one of the days that Itoh was in the exhibition space, they copulated through a hole.” 

White-handed gibbons are an endangered animal species, with the apes being threatened by hunting, pet trade, and particularly habitat loss, according to US-based non-profit People Resources and Conservation Foundation.

Outside of the animal kingdom, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, some countries encouraged the use of glory holes as a way to have sex and keep the virus at bay. 

New York City and Canadian health departments were among those that endorsed the “safe sex” practice. 

“Make it a little kinky,” New York City’s health department recommended.

“Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.”

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