April 13, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Note: Images of Sophia orangutan and her 6-month-old baby may be downloaded at our photo download page.
Brookfield, Ill.--Swing over to Brookfield Zoo and celebrate Ape Awareness Month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 18-19 and 25-26. Activities are planned in the zoo’s Tropic World exhibit, which is home to three endangered ape species: western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons.
On each weekend, the zoo’s volunteer educators will be stationed throughout the exhibit engaging guests in a variety of activities and crafts. Guests can compare their own handprints with those of an orangutan’s and gorilla’s, see how much wider an orangutan’s arm span is compared to a human’s, try on a gorilla-sized T-shirt, learn what the apes eat at Brookfield Zoo, and discover ways to help these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats of Asia and Africa.
In addition, each day during the event, guests can attend special informal Zoo Chats and watch the apes being fed by keepers. At noon, they can listen to animal care staff sharing interesting facts and stories about the gibbons. An orangutan zookeeper will answer questions and explain why the palm oil industry is having a negative impact on this species’ natural habitat. Then at 2:30 p.m., guests can gather on the bridge in Tropic World’s Africa section for some gorilla facts and to learn about the zoo’s gorilla group.
Guests will also have the opportunity to make donations that will benefit conservation programs for apes in the wild. Programs will be selected by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Ape Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), which is a committee of expert advisors who not only provide a forum for discussing husbandry, veterinary, ethical, and other issues that apply to entire taxa, but also establish priorities for ape management in zoos and for research and conservation efforts for animals in the wild.
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.
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