Wednesday 13 December 2017

Gorillas climb zoo property ladder

Jason O'Brien

THE gorillas are climbing the property ladder.

Dublin Zoo yesterday announced that a new gorilla rainforest is to be built at a cost of €2m.

Work on the project is due to begin in September of next year and is expected to take up to 12 months to complete.

"This development has been a few years in the planning and when completed will be the envy of zoos everywhere," Leo Oosterweghel, director of the zoo, said.

"The western lowland gorillas are beautiful animals and the spacious 12,000sqm habitat we are creating will provide the gorillas with a home that allows the troop to continue breeding and to encourage natural behaviours. The Dublin Zoo gorilla rainforest will be regarded as one of the world's best homes for gorillas.

"Visitors to Dublin Zoo will be in for an amazing experience and will see an unrivalled example of gorillas in their natural habitat.

"Observation points will be hidden along the forest paths to allow visitors to observe the animals."

There are currently five gorillas that call Dublin Zoo home following Kesho's transfer to a zoo in London earlier this summer.

A spokesman said that the new rainforest -- a €2m project -- will give the zoo room to increase gorilla numbers in the future but added, "there are no firm plans yet to do so".

Dublin Zoo's gorillas are part of a breeding population of around 400 currently living in European zoos. This is achieved with the aid of a stud-book and ensures genetic variation and to prevent interbreeding.

The Dublin gorillas' existing home was constructed in the 1970s and the new rainforest will include undulating topography, rocky outcrops, streams and dense vegetation.

This natural environment will allow the gorillas to forage and also move to private resting places away from fellow gorillas and zoo visitors, the spokesman added.

Irish Independent

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