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Well, we are definitely getting down to the sharp end of things here in the Orang house in order to receive our Chimpanzees, and pretty much all the “ï’s” have been dotted and all the “t’s” crossed on the various plans and procedures that we have developed for the move.

We are about a week away from Go Day.

This weekend, the primate team along with other staff did a practise run through the procedure to move our oldest females in crates from the Chimp House to the Orang House. We wanted to get an idea on how long it would take from point A to point B.

I am happy to say things went very well and we got from point A to point B in 31 minutes and 25 seconds. This, I think, is pretty good. We need to be aware that this movement of crates should not be a Formula 1 pit stop exercise. Outright speed is not important; safety and smoothness are our main goals.

I mentioned before that this entire move is the biggest animal transfer that Taronga has undertaken since the Chimpanzees were moved to the current exhibit in the early 1980s. Due to this, we are very aware of needing to make sure that everything is going to work, and for this reason we shall be doing another practise run this week. Quite frankly, when moving conscious adult Chimpanzees my belief is you cannot practice enough.

There are several aspects of the move that still hang in the air. For example: which Chimp will be unloaded into the Orang house first; will the community be inside the house or outside when the first day of moves begin. Who will be the next individual to go?

As always, in keeping with our philosophy of acting upon our understanding of how our group is feeling, we will be waiting to see what the group’s behaviour is when we start, and will use that insight to dictate how we will proceed.

Taronga’s attitude to management of our Chimpanzee community has always been one of allowing self-management. We, as keepers, are only here to facilitate this.

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