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Auckland Zoo’s High Canopy is now open – a spectacular new habitat for siamangs and orangutans

Auckland Zoo’s High Canopy is now open – a spectacular new habitat for siamangs and orangutans

Spot the primates as they live the high life, swinging 25 metres off the ground! The new sky-high habitat lets them behave and move as they would in the wild.

Auckland Zoo’s High Canopy is now open – a spectacular new habitat for siamangs and orangutans

A series of spectacular aerial pathways have opened up in Auckland Zoo, letting visitors observe orangutans and siamangs swinging high up in the canopy.

Following the opening of the South East Asia Jungle Track last year, the last – and highest – layer of pathways is now open to the public, just in time for the April school holidays.

The network of innovative pathways reach up to 25 metres high, offering a unique view of the animals behaving as they would in the wild.

The black-furred siamangs are the newest primates to join the habitat. Known for their booming calls, these fascinating creatures can travel up to 56 km/hour swinging through the treetops.

Made with vine-like ropes and massive trunk-like poles, the aerial pathways are built to reflect the different layers of the rainforest canopy in the wild. Orangutans and siamangs can even climb through the poles, giving visitors an exciting, up-close view of the animals in action.

“Seeing our three orangutans navigate their way around these extraordinary new structures with such exceptional agility and ease, makes me really quite envious of the obvious fun that they are having up there,” says Auckland zoo director, Kevin Buley.

When it’s time to relax, enjoy coffee and a snack on Te Puna café’s deck that overlooks the lake, a wonderful vantage point to see the primates swinging amongst the canopy.

Wildlife conservation science at work

Seeing these primates swinging up high in their habitat is not only an impressive sight, but offers a rare opportunity to see the zoo’s conservation work up close.

The aerial pathways give the animals enriching opportunities to enhance their physical health, explains Auckland Zoo Primate team leader, Amy Robbins.

“Our whole philosophy of care for the orangutans and siamangs is to maximise their natural curiosity, to keep life stimulating and unpredictable as it would be in the wild, and to interpret their behaviour that enables us to respond to what they’re wanting,” she says.

“As keepers, we really appreciated being involved with the designers who valued our knowledge and experience. We spend our lives working with and observing these exceptionally intelligent animals’ movements and behaviour, and when it comes to a complex creation like these aerial pathways, the devil’s in the detail.”

“We’ve taken the best of all that we’ve seen internationally, and I believe what we have is the best habitat in a zoo for orangutans and siamangs anywhere in the world.”

Visit Auckland Zoo with your whanau these school holidays

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Auckland Zoo website.

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