Wild Inside: Hangin’ out with Georgie the Gibbon

One of Zoo Knoxville’s stars, Georgie turns 20 on Oct. 5!
One of Zoo Knoxville’s stars, Georgie turns 20 on Oct. 5!
Published: Oct. 13, 2023 at 8:40 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Georgie the white-handed gibbon arrived at Zoo Knoxville when he was just two years old. He’s been one of Zoo Knoxville’s stars ever since.

Georgie’s call can be heard all across the zoo, he loves to swing and more than that, he loves to show off, said Asian Trek Lead Keeper Sydney McCartt.

“Georgie loves attention,” said McCartt. “He loves to be swinging around. He likes to be the center of attention, even when the weather’s not that great, he will still be outside if he’s got people to show off for.”

While he may be cute and fun, Georgie is still a wild animal. He swings away in his exhibit with room to move all over.

“So they are Class One animals in Tennessee,” said McCartt. “We don’t go in there with them, we don’t touch them, we don’t hand feed them because they are a threat to human safety.”

Georgie turns 20 on Thursday, Oct. 5, and the zoo is pulling out all the stops to celebrate.

“We’ll have extra toys, enrichment and a training demonstration for guests to watch,” McCartt said.

Gibbons live to be around 45 years old, so Georgie is still a few years before middle age.

As for what the next 20 years holds? The zoo hopes Georgie can mate with another gibbon.

“Hopefully he and Melee (another gibbon at Zoo Knoxville) will eventually reproduce, but again, that’s all up to them right now,” McCartt said. “We’ve done all we can as keepers.”

To check out the rest of the animals we’ve featured on Wild Inside, click here, for more on Zoo Knoxville and Georgie, click here!