Taronga's chimps revel in renovated exhibit

Taronga's chimps revel in renovated exhibit


17 Chimpanzees gave Zoo visitors a look at their new Chimpanzee Sanctuary for

the first time today.


world renowned primate group spent the morning climbing and exploring the newly

renovated exhibit which now includes giant towers up to 12 metre high, a

network of climbing ropes and hammocks for the chimps to enjoy, and new vantage

points where visitors can get closer to the animals.


Life Sciences Manager, Simon Duffy, said: “By the look of their reactions, I’d

say it has their full approval. It’s already been given a positive assessment by

the chimp’s greatest advocate, Dr Jane Goodall, when she inspected the exhibit

during her recent visit.”


Goodall also sent a message for today, saying “Taronga Zoo's chimpanzee

community is well respected around the world. This new exhibit is very exciting

and is filled with potential for the chimpanzees. I have come to know these

chimpanzees well and I wish I was there today to see how they first react to

their new home”.Mr Duffy said: “We’re really proud of this exhibit. It’s an example of the very

best in exhibit design, involving expert keepers, vets, engineers, behavioural

biologists and our own volunteers, who helped weave a 180 kg hammock out of

fire hoses that our youngest chimp, ‘Sule’ made sure he was the first to



visitor side of the exhibit is just as impressive. You can literally come face

to face with the chimps by crawling into a special glassed tunnel system, test

your strength against the powerful primates in a pretend game of tug-of-war,

and special sound buttons awake all your senses so you can hear some of their

unique vocalisations including a ‘wah-bark’ warning”.


also have a special ‘mesh curtain’ that allows us to divide the space so that our

keepers can introduce new animals into the group or give some of the family

members a ‘time out’ from each other if the need arises.”

The makeover began in 2009 after the Chimpanzees were

moved to a temporary exhibit for the duration of the renovation. Once complete,

the chimps were gradually moved back, travelling in family groups to maintain

the famous social structure of the group.

Mr Duffy said: “Our chimp group act and live like

their wild counterparts and they have the social and political complexities

that make up wild chimp communities, so moving an entire group of powerful and

intelligent chimps is no mean feat.

“These two successful moves are a triumph for our

primate keepers who not only moved these wonderful creatures safely but ensured

their environment enabled them to maintain the full range of complex Chimpanzee

social interaction.”

“Not unexpectedly, the tone of the move each way

was set by the group’s grand dame, Lulu, who at 59 was the only chimp who

didn’t require an anaesthetic, simply walking into her travelling container

because of her great confidence in her keepers.  


celebrate this momentous occasion and further develop Taronga’s conservation

efforts we’ve recently announced a five year partnership with the Jane Goodall

Institute to support the development of the Tchimpounga Rehabilitation Centre

in the Republic of Congo. The goal of the Centre is to release Chimpanzees back

into their forest home. Two of Taronga’s skilled staff are currently in the

Congo helping care for the chimps.


full details on Taronga’s Chimpanzees, ideas for community support for

conservation and a stunning historical photo gallery by photographer, Rick

Stevens go to:  www.taronga.org.au/chimps