Earlier this year the Zoo opened the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which will undoubtedly become one of the main attractions.
Orangutans live in the tropical rainforests of
The exhibit is home to eight orangutans that range from adult males and females to teenagers, each with their own distinct personality. Azy is known to show a display of male dominance when a human male is in the area.
Patience is the key to visiting the exhibit, which contains two outdoor viewing areas and an interior viewing area at the top of the enclosure.
If the visitors show some patience eventually they will witness orangutans swinging from suspended hoses or creating a nest.
One of the truly amazing features is that zoo visitors are afforded the opportunity to look into the eyes of these great apes, which are the closest relative to humans, sharing more than 96 percent of the same DNA.
By looking into the face of an orangutan the visitor can almost imagine its emotions.
When the orangutans walk on the ground their hands are curled inward and they move forward on their knuckles.
But watching them swing from hanging hose to hanging hose is the highlight. Azy has an arm span of 9 feet.
They have long reddish-orange hair, particularly on the two larger males, Azy and Charly.
Next to the main exhibit area there is an outdoor space where the orangutans can climb several poles. There is also the new Skyline that soars above the enclosure that allows visitors to watch the orangutans on their sidewalk in the sky.
Visitors were afforded the opportunity to watch adult male Charly creating a nest on the floor of the interior enclosure. Charly diligently pulled straw and a blanket up to his chest to form the nest.
There are also interactive features so that zoo visitors can interact with the orangutans.
"The International Orangutan Center provides the apes with a rich and complex environment perfectly suited to their needs," said
At the center of the exhibit is the Nina Mason Pulliam Beacon of
It has been some time since my wife, Kelly, and I visited the
If you go
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