DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 19 (UPI) — The Great Ape Trust plans to move its orangutans from its flood-damaged facility in Des Moines, Iowa, to another city, officials said.
The trust campus on the outskirts of Des Moines will continue to be home to six bonobos, The Des Moines Register reported. But last year’s flood ended the trust’s plan to expand its facility in Des Moines, adding the study of chimpanzees and gorillas.
The orangutans are scheduled to move in 2013. The trust said it has signed an agreement with an unidentified zoo, but officials would not say Wednesday whether it was the Indianapolis Zoo, which has plans to open a great ape exhibit.
The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines turned down the orangutans. Officials there said they did not want to spend the money required to build housing for them and were pessimistic, given the economic slump, about raising money for the conservation and research programs the trust wanted.
“It’s just a tough time to go out and make a big push for a new project,” said Mike Hubbell, board president of the Blank Park Zoo Foundation. “If it was a different time, we’d probably take a little more risk and bet a little more on the future.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International