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Taronga’s Primate keepers are delighted the Zoo’s 19 Chimpanzees have settled quickly into their temporary home in the Orang-utan exhibit.

The Chimpanzees have been given time to get used to the exhibit which was specially modified for them after the Orang-utans moved to a new off-exhibit home while the Chimps old exhibit gets a comprehensive renovation.

Senior primate keeper, Louise Grossfeldt, said: “We were quite nervous when we first let them into the new exhibit because we didn’t know how the group would respond to the different location, but they’ve been fine,”

We put watermelons around the exhibit in case of any first day jitters in coming out of the night dens to explore their new abode. As it turned out an enticement wasn’t necessary for the females of the group. They were quite eager to make their way out and explore the new exhibit. The males on the other hand were happy to take refuge in the comforts of their dens until later in the morning.”

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For the first few days, the exhibit was screened to allow the chimpanzees plenty of uninterrupted time to explore the exhibit but from the first moment Lulu and the other females of the group all seemed very relaxed. Most spent their time in the sun quietly munching on the watermelon.

Some chose to investigate and check out the new neighbourhood. While the new equipment and ropes in the exhibit provided much entertainment for the youngest of the group, Sembe and Sule.

Viewing the chimpanzees at the Orang-utan is very different as the glass windows allow visitors to see our nearest relatives much more closely than before.

The chimps have something new as well, the Sky Safari cable car. It is the first time they have ever seen it at such close range and it is proving to be quite a novelty as the cable cars sail directly over their exhibit.

Construction will soon commence on the renovation of the Chimpanzee Exhibit with some exciting new additions that will sure to please the chimps on their return. The renovated exhibit is due to open in 2011 with new features including special climbing structures and new night dens for the Chimps.

Keepers are reporting that the Orang-utans, male Jantan, and female, Willow, have settled in well, sharing their exhibit. Willow and Jantan’s home away from home is providing them with new found experiences of their own.

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