Brookfield Zoo hosts international ape conference

The apes: Challenges for the 21st Century

First conference to address issues facing apes in the wild and in zoos

Brookfield Zoo is hosting an international conference that will define the obstacles facing apes in this century. The Apes: Challenges for the 21st Century is the first conference to address issues affecting gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gibbons, and siamangs both in the wild and in zoos. The meeting brings together the worlds leading researchers, zoological park personnel, and field biologists to discuss the most current information and to develop action plans on conservation, husbandry, and other issues.

"The conference convenes at a critical time for our nearest primate relatives," said George B. Rabb, president of the Chicago Zoological Society and director of Brookfield Zoo. In serious danger of extinction, ape populations in Africa and Asia are rapidly decreasing because of habitat destruction from logging, mining, forest fires, hunting for bushmeat, and the illegal pet trade. These issues are of a complex nature, as people must develop more sustainable methods to use the ecosystems they share with animals. By making the public aware of the issues facing apes, conference organizers hope to promote a sense of urgency that leads to dramatic increases in conservation efforts.

More than 400 delegates from countries around the world -- including Indonesia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Bangladesh, Russia, and Australia -- will participate in three days of concurrent sessions and two evening round table discussions. Issues to be addressed include behavior, nutrition, veterinary medicine, conservation, genetics, socioeconomics, exhibit design, rehabilitation, cognition, and husbandry.

Brookfield Zoo is playing a key role in integrating the work of zoo professionals with the conservation community. A vital common initiative is community-based conserv

Contact: Sondra Katzen
708-485-0263, x351
Brookfield Zoo

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