New gibbon exhibit to open
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.”
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