Paignton Zoo Environmental Park launches charity Ape Days

Date: 2011/03/21


A wildlife charity is launching special behind-the-scenes experiences to raise money for ape conservation.


The Ape Days at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park are part of the charity's support for the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Ape Campaign, which aims to raise one million Euros for global ape conservation.


Paignton Zoo Environmental Park Director of Operations and Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: "There will probably be no more than 20 of these special days through the year - so it is a very limited offer. People will get to see behind the scenes, talk to the experts and get closer to some amazing animals."


Each day will last around five hours, starting at 10:00am and ending at 3:00pm. Individuals will spend time with primatologists and zoo keepers and learn about Paignton Zoo's ape species, which include gorillas, orang utans and gibbons. They will receive a goodie bag at the end of their day.


Neil: "We aim to do one a week, as we already do Keeper For A Day on Tuesdays and Saturdays."


Staff involved include Paignton Zoo curator of mammals Neil Bemment, who co-chairs important European committees for gorillas and orang utans; Dr. Kirsten Pullen, who did her PhD on gorilla behaviour; Holly Farmer, who is working towards her PhD on vocalisations and will be exploring gibbon vocalizations on the days; and Dr. Vicky Melfi, who chairs a key international gibbon group. 


People coming on the days will learn about gorilla social dynamics and gibbon vocalizations; how the animals are cared for and how breeding programmes are run regionally and globally. They will also find out about some of the conservation projects being supported by the EAZA campaign.


The Ape Days cost £200 each and are for one person per day. Paignton Zoo Environmental Parkis a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 0844 474 2223.


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