Utica Zoo to unveil new white-handed gibbon outdoor living rainforest exhibit

The Utica Zoo is pleased to announce the official Grand Opening of their new White-Handed Gibbon Outdoor Living Rainforest Exhibit. Along with the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce, Utica Zoo Board of Directors, Utica Zoo staff, and invited guests, The Utica Zoo will hold a Ribbon Cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new exhibit Thursday, Nov. 15, at 11 a.m.

The new exhibit, featuring eight times more living space, a glass visitor viewing area, HotRock heated platform, and complete lack of metal bars and chain link, will provide Snowflake 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!” fundraising 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. 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,” says Director of Animal Operations, Pearl Yusuf. “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 allow the 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 2 years,” says Mark Simon, Marketing Coordinator of the Utica Zoo. “To see Snowflake 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.

By martha

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