Chimps explore their new digs at zoo’s Primate Forest habitat

Chimps explore their new digs at zoo’s Primate Forest habitat

Construction of Primate Forest, the Oregon Zoo’s ambitious new habitat for chimpanzees and orangutans, is nearly complete, and the chimps are already making themselves right at home.

Primate Forest opens to the public later this year, but in the meantime Portland’s chimp troop — Chloe, Delilah, Leah and Jackson — are getting acquainted with the indoor “day room” and one of two new outdoor yards in the new space. Both areas are visible from visitor pathways.

As the chimps settled in, zoo staff reflected on Portland’s decades-long connection to famed conservationist Jane Goodall, and looked ahead to a new era of care for chimpanzees and other primates.

“Back in 1970s and ’80s, Dr. Goodall helped the zoo find funding for a big outdoor area to house all the chimps here,” primate keeper Colleen 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.”

Many of the new features at Primate Forest — such as a stream, waterfall, large boulders, logs and more — were made possible through the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s $8.5 million Heart of the Oregon Zoo campaign, which is currently raising funds to support the zoo’s efforts in advancing animal welfare, conservation and education.

Primate Forest

Primate Forest is one of eight major projects funded by a community-supported zoo bond measure passed in 2008. The final three projects — new habitats for primates and polar bears and an improved space for rhinos — are being managed as a single construction project to increase efficiency.

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