News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
March 27, 2017

Images of great apes at Brookfield Zoo can be downloaded below.
Orangutan 1
Orangutan 2
Orangutan 3
Western lowland gorilla 1
Western lowland gorilla 2
White-cheeked gibbon 1
White-cheeked gibbon 2

Swing Over to Brookfield Zoo for Ape Awareness Weekend

Brookfield, Ill. – With spring in full swing, it is an APEtastic time to venture to Brookfield Zoo’s Tropic World on Saturday, April 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. That’s when the annual Ape Awareness Weekend celebration highlights the zoo’s three ape species: western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons.

Throughout the weekend, guests can participate in interactive, ape-related activities such as comparing their own weight, arm length, and hand size with those of an orangutan and gorilla or building apelike nests using paper and wheelbarrows. The exhibit will be full of visuals, including the types of food apes eat and items that are used for training the animals to participate in their own health care.

On both Saturday and Sunday, zoogoers can also attend special Zoo Chats throughout Tropic World to learn more about ape populations, the dangers they face in the wild, and what can be done to help them. Chats include:
·        Orangutans at noon in the Asia section
·        White-cheeked gibbons at 1:00 p.m. in the Asia section
·        A conservation overview at 2:00 p.m. in the South America section
·        Western lowland gorillas at 2:45 p.m. in the Africa section

“Ape Awareness Weekend provides a great opportunity for us to inform our guests about the importance of conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures,” said Craig Demitros, associate curator of primates for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

A great way zoogoers can individually begin helping gorillas throughout the weekend will be by donating old cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, handheld games, e-readers, and laptops. Coltan—a metallic ore used in the manufacturing of these products—is primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The greater the demand for these electronics, the greater the demand for coltan, which sadly results in the destruction of gorilla habitats. Guests can drop them at the zoo’s recycling stations, which will be located at the North and South Gates.
According to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN), western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons are all critically endangered in their native habitats. Depending on the species the causes for the decline in their populations vary. They include illegal hunting, deforestation, the bushmeat trade, disease, and climate change.

Brookfield Zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield. Admission to the zoo is $19.85 for adults and $14.50 for children 3 to 11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Parking is $12. For more information about Ape Awareness Weekend at Brookfield Zoo, visit or call (708) 688-8000.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, 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. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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