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Audubon's orangutans get spacious new exhibit

The  new space is 6,800 square feet.  (FOX 8 Photo) The  new space is 6,800 square feet.  (FOX 8 Photo)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

They're  going ape at the Audubon Zoo! An impressive new exhibit for orangutans is set to open by Labor Day. It's a posh upgrade for the primates that will live there.

"Presently they're in an exhibit that's  about 4,500 square feet," said Primate Curator Courtney Eparvier.

The  new space is 6,800 square feet. 

"It gives them a whole bunch of arboreal opportunities. Orangutans are the most arboreal animals on the planet," she said.

The new area includes a new mansion of sorts for the animals to sleep in. The old elephant building was renovated and converted into a four-bedroom setup with air conditioning. The bedrooms are swanky cages with things for the apes to climb on. 

So, what happened to the elephants? They'll soon be living even larger too. They'll move from a 6,000-square-foot outdoor space to one that's more than 42,000 square feet with a 5,000-square-foot barn.
  
"This is a dramatic redevelopment of the whole Asia area," Curator Joel Hamilton said. "The orangutan exhibit is the first one when you walk through the gates."

So the most intelligent of primates may feel like royalty at the zoo. The Sumatran orangutans are endangered in their home of Indonesia. Here they are just beloved and pampered.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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