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Orana Gears up for Great Apes

Orana Gears up for Great Apes – Gorillas and Orang-utans coming to Christchurch!

Orana Wildlife Park is embarking upon the most ambitious project in its 37 year history – a $6M Great Ape Centre for gorillas and orang-utans. Construction commences next week and is due for completion in March 2015!

Chief Executive, Lynn Anderson, says: “this extremely significant project will house New Zealand’s first ever gorillas. Three gorilla brothers will arrive from Taronga Zoo (Sydney) in 2015. The orang-utans will be transferred about one year later.

Our team is extremely excited about progressing this project; the habitat was put on hold due to the earthquakes. Initially, we had planned a Gorilla Habitat. However, through extensive expert consultation our design now enables us to hold two Great Ape species.

Orana will join international zoo-based breeding programmes for the two critically endangered Great Apes. Our role will be to raise awareness on the plight of these beautiful animals. Threats to gorillas include hunting, disease related mortality and habitat loss. Orang-utans are threatened by logging, wholesale conversion of forest to agricultural land and oil palm plantations as well as poaching for the illegal pet trade.

The project has immense educational implications, particularly for our formal education programmes, enabling people to see some of the world’s most impressive primates! Gorillas and orang-utans are totally different to anything else displayed at the Park.

Orana Wildlife Park is a long established Canterbury icon and our team is absolutely committed to ensuring we are part of the re-build of our wonderful region. We consider that the Great Ape Centre will add significant appeal to the Canterbury region, being a New Zealand first project!”

As a registered charitable trust, Orana must separately fundraise for all capital projects. A fundraising campaign will be launched to raise the remaining funds required. Community support is vital and there are many ways people and organisations can assist from providing funding for the project, donating materials or giving discounts on work” concludes Lynn.

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