With spring in full swing, it is an APEtastic time to venture to Brookfield Zoo’s Tropic World for Ape Awareness Weekend.
Venture to Brookfield Zoo’s Tropic World on Saturday, April 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for Ape Awareness Weekend. The celebration highlights the zoo’s three ape species: western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons.
Throughout the weekend, guests can participate in interactive, ape-related activities such as comparing their own weight, arm length, and hand size with those of an orangutan and gorilla or building apelike nests using paper and wheelbarrows. The exhibit will be full of visuals, including the types of food apes eat and items that are used for training the animals to participate in their own health care.
On both Saturday and Sunday, zoogoers can also attend special Zoo Chats throughout Tropic World to learn more about ape populations, the dangers they face in the wild, and what can be done to help them. Chats include:
- Orangutans at noon in the Asia section
- White-cheeked gibbons at 1:00 p.m. in the Asia section
- A conservation overview at 2:00 p.m. in the South America section
- Western lowland gorillas at 2:45 p.m. in the Africa section
A great way zoogoers can individually begin helping gorillas throughout the weekend will be by donating old cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, handheld games, e-readers, and laptops. Coltan—a metallic ore used in the manufacturing of these products—is primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The greater the demand for these electronics, the greater the demand for coltan, which sadly results in the destruction of gorilla habitats. Guests can drop them at the zoo’s recycling stations, which will be located at the North and South Gates.
According to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN), western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons are all critically endangered in their native habitats. Depending on the species the causes for the decline in their populations vary. They include illegal hunting, deforestation, the bushmeat trade, disease, and climate change.