New gib­bon ex­hibit to open

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - News -

UTICA, N.Y. >> The Utica Zoo will hold the of­fi­cial grand open­ing of their new White-Handed Gib­bon Out­door Liv­ing Rain­for­est Ex­hibit on Thurs­day, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m.

The new ex­hibit, fea­tur­ing more than eight times more liv­ing space, a glass vis­i­tor view­ing area, Hot Rock heated plat­form, and com­plete lack of metal bars and chain link, will pro­vide Snow flake and Yoda, the zoo’s res­i­dent White-Handed Gib­bons, a mod­ern and nat­u­ral Liv­ing Rain­for­est to en­joy all year round. The com­ple­tion of the White-Handed Gib­bon Out­door Liv­ing Rain­for­est is the re­sult of the “We Don’t like It Ei­ther” fundrais­ing cam­paign.

The cur­rent “Ex­cite­ment is Build­ing!” fundrais- ing cam­paign aims to con­tinue the work on the Pri­mate Build­ing, orig­i­nally built in 1927, to pro­vide a sim­i­lar Liv­ing Rain­for­est for the zoo’s Mex­i­can Spi­der Mon­keys. Also in the plans for the ren­o­va­tions are ad­di­tions to in­door an­i­mal liv­ing ar­eas and keeper care ar­eas. The com­ple­tion of the White-Handed Gib­bon Out­door Liv­ing Rain­for­est project was an in­te­gral part of the zoo’s re­cent suc­cess­ful ac­cred­i­ta­tion by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Zoos and Aquar­i­ums.

“Af­ter two years of plan­ning and build­ing, we’ve cre­ated a new habi­tat that in­creases the Gib­bon’s space by over 800 per­cent in cu­bic feet,” said Di­rec­tor of An­i­mal Op­er­a­tions Pearl Yusuf. “Gib­bons are a species equipped to live in the high canopy for­est and can take ad­van­tage of the in­crease in lin­ear and ver­ti­cal space. With that in mind, we have a habi­tat that is as high as 21 feet in spots and out­fit­ted with ropes, plat­forms and other habi­tat ‘fur­ni­ture’ that can ac­cen­tu­ate their nat­u­ral abil­i­ties. Gib­bons en­joy climb­ing, hang­ing and swing­ing arm over arm, so this new habi­tat pro­vides more room to demon­strate these be­hav­iors. Part of any an­i­mal’s good wel­fare is to be able to choose to use the be­hav­iors that come nat­u­rally. New fea­tures such as a heated plat­form will al­lowthe an­i­mals to en­joy the out­doors more of­ten than they have in the past.”

“The open­ing of the new Liv­ing Rain­for­est ex­hibit is a tes­ta­ment to the in­cred­i­ble hard work the Utica Zoo staff and their con­trac­tor part­ners have put in over the last two years,” said Mark Si­mon, mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor of the Utica Zoo. “To see Snow flake and Yoda swing and climb freely through­out their ex­hibit is truly a sight that needs to be ob­served first hand, and to be able to pro­vide that ex­pe­ri­ence to our com­mu­nity and vis­i­tors is a great feel­ing.”

To stay up to date on all things Utica Zoo, visit Uti­caZoo.org, Face­book, Twit­ter or In­sta­gram @Uti­caZoo.

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