Chimps explore new Primate Forest at Oregon Zoo


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Zoo’s new Primate Forest habitat for chimpanzees and orangutans is nearly complete.

The zoo’s chimpanzees — Chloe, Delilah, Leah and Jackson — moved into the new habitat’s “day room” last week and then explored one of two new outdoor yards for the first time on Wednesday. The Oregon Zoo said visitors can catch glimpses of both areas from the main visitor pathway, but Primate Forest won’t officially open to the public until later in the year.

Jane Goodall, right, with Marianne Yeutter, Chimpanzee Enrichment Project Coordinator, at the Portland Zoological Gardens (Washington Park Zoo) with Chloe (up top) and Charlie the chimpanzees. (Oregon Zoo/Photo by Barbara Gundle)

“It’s especially gratifying to see Chloe interacting with the new space,” said keeper Colleen Reed. “She has such a long history here, and has been loved by so many people over the years.”

Chloe came to the Oregon Zoo in 1975 after being kept as a pet. The zoo said she had to learn how to behave around other chimps and was even paid a visit by renowned conservationist Jane Goodall.

“Back in 1970s and ’80s, Dr. Goodall helped the zoo find funding for a big outdoor area to house all the chimps here,” Reed said. “And the new Primate Forest habitat is a natural outgrowth of those early developments. It’s so great to see Chloe and the others enjoying that space.”

Primate Forest is one of eight major projects at the zoo funded by a bond measure passed in 2008. The chimp habitat, along with a new habitat for polar bears and an improved space for rhinos, are the final three projects funded by the bond. They’re being worked on simultaneously.

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