Opening of new ape enclosures
Bigger, more beautiful and more natural than before. The new ape enclosures for gorillas and chimpanzees at Hellabrunn Zoo opened on Friday, 27 March. Situated in the Jungle House, the completely revamped indoor and outdoor facilities will open to the public just in time for the Easter holidays.
Lush green meadows, natural climbing trees, a small stream and rocks that look deceptively real: the outdoor enclosures for gorillas and chimpanzees have been extended to create a new, exciting climbing paradise. But the excitement will not be exclusive to the apes. Thanks to the newly installed glass panel walls for the outdoor enclosures Hellabrunn visitors now have an opportunity to experience close encounters (almost) with the apes, who often approach onlookers, little and big, with curiosity.
"Our six chimpanzees can now be seen in the outdoor enclosure, which we were able to extend to just from over 1,100 m2, or 40 per cent larger. We have also extended the gorilla enclosure by 15 per cent. The enclosures built in the Jungle House in 2001 were in need of repair. We therefore decided to revamp the entire living quarters to create a more species-appropriate, natural environment - and achieved this in a record time of less than three months," says zoo director Rasem Baban.
Christine Strobl, Mayor and Chairman of the zoo, adds: "Hellabrunn's new outdoor enclosure is impressive - in terms of safety, size and design. As part of the renovation, which we started planning in August 2013, the old moats were removed. These areas can now be fully enjoyed by the gorillas and chimpanzees. The large glass walls, which replace the moats to separate humans and apes, now allow visitors to get up close to the animals."
Hellabrunn gorillas Sonja, Bagira, Neema and Nafi can hardly wait to test the outdoor play facilities. As soon as the weather permits, they will step out into their new enclosure, which now offers 130 m2 more space than before to run around and have fun. The four gorillas will also have new company very soon: in April, two three-year-old male gorillas Tano and Okanda will arrive from Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart. Nafi, the youngest member of the gorilla family at Hellabrunn, can look forward to new playmates to explore the revamped gorilla enclosure.
Zenta, Annemarie, Sophie, Hannerl, Willi and Seppi: Hellabrunn's chimpanzees will also be in the starting blocks waiting to dash out into dry weather and spring temperatures, and their new enclosure. For budding scientists visiting Hellabrunn, the new chimpanzee enclosure offers a special treat: an interactive research station, which little and big visitors can reach via a discovery trail. The hands-on station provides information via interactive learning elements such as folding panels and a wheel of riddles, as well as instructional materials such as skull replicas and research equipment explaining the work of great naturalists such as Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey and the threat to African primates.