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Zookeepers solve mystery of female monkey who got pregnant while she was alone in her cage

Zookeepers solve mystery of female monkey who got pregnant while she was alone in her cage

Momo the monkey became pregnant in 2021

Zookeepers finally discovered how a female monkey got pregnant despite being separated from all the other males at a Japanese zoo.

In the words of Jurassic Park's Dr Ian Malcolm, 'life... err finds a way’.

Female white-handed gibbon Momo, who was housed at the Kujukushima Zoo & Botanical Garden in Nagasaki, became pregnant in 2021 even though she was alone in her cage... or so zookeepers thought.

She gave birth to an adorable baby monkey but staff were left scratching their heads over the 'miracle' incident.

They even admitted on social media that they weren’t sure who the daddy was and testing the new born proved difficult due to the protectiveness of Momo.

Posting on Instagram, the zoo explained: “Just so everyone wants to know ‘who's the dad’ hasn't been found out yet because we haven't done DNA testing, but we found out the gender is male.”

A miracle conception of the animal world? Not quite because two years later the zookeepers revealed just how Momo got her self in this situation.

Explaining why it took so long to solve the mystery, Jun Yamano, the superintendent of the zoo, said: "It took us two years to figure it out because we couldn't get close enough to collect samples - she was very protective of her child.”

The mystery has finally been solved.

Firstly, they carried out a DNA test on the baby and discovered that its dad was Itoh, a male gibbon who was held in a separate enclosure.

But love knows no bounds, and a simple thing such as being housed in a separate unit was not enough to keep Momo and Itoh apart.

Yamano told Vice that staff believe the pair were able to mate due to an area next to Momo’s enclosure that both she and Itoh took turns using, while on display to the public.

The investigation found a tiny hole, measuring nine millimetres in diameter, in the board that separated that unit from Momo’s enclosure.

Momo (right) and her baby (left).

Although the zoo didn’t manage to capture any footage of the copulation, it’s thought the two gibbons were able to get it on while Itoh was inside the display area and Momo was next door on the other side of the hole.

Yamano went on to say that the mating, and subsequent pregnancy, was unprecedented at the zoo as the gibbons are usually paired together intentionally after being introduced to each other.

They now plan to allow Itoh into the same enclosure as Momo and their baby and have also fixed the pesky hole in the wall.

Topics: Animals, World News, Weird