The Philadelphia Zoo has a very deep connection to primates. It was tested on Christmas Eve in 1995 when a fire broke out in the primate facility. And while the flames were contained the fumes from the fire asphyxiated the majority of the large apes at the zoo. In all, 23 animals died including all of the zoo's Western Lowland Gorillas (6) and Orangutans (3) and White-faced Gibbons (4). These were family groups, and tragedy transformed the zoo and the commitment it has to primate survival.
With the extreme cold, all the exterior spaces were closed to the primates. Inside the Orangutans were sleeping, the Gibbons and Lemurs were off display, and of the Western Lowland Gorilla troop, only Motuba was in the public habitat. Perhaps owing to being alone there, the fact that the few people present where behaving very un-gorilla-like by staring at him put him in a mood. He went from collecting and gripping his cardboard boxes to charging the slamming himself into the glass divider. It was an impressive show of force, and gave me a new appreciation for the strength of the "glass" in such facilities. In other areas lesser primates like the Common Spider Monkey, and (in nocturnal black light) the Aye Aye's were on display.
|A Common Spider Monkey|
As one of only a handful of visitors, upon leaving a lone Black-necked Swan called to me, and I responded by spending some time observing it and talking to it. I think it want me to give some food. Sad little swan. In warmer weather, the area beyond the lagoon is home to Lemurs.