Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about captive breeding programs. Mostly because I’m working with this topic for my Primate Conservation course’s final paper, but also because my school’s Undergraduate Zoological Society’s annual trip was to the Milwaukee Zoo this year for a behind the scenes tour. The Milwaukee Zoo also has a great captive breeding program for some very endangered species, including bonobos. I got some great pictures of behind-the-scenes stuff, but what I was most interested in was the primates.
The Milwaukee Zoo has an amazing amount of primates–and they look fantastic. As someone that works closely with primates in a captive setting (albeit, only for several months now), I couldn’t see any marks of self-injurious behaviors or any stereotypical behaviors. Not to mention, this zoo has a no-flash policy so as to not scare off any of the animals. Above all else, I was impressed at the enclosures: they weren’t as grand as the London Zoo’s but they did have adequate amounts of natural simulation AND enrichment available for the primates, along with places to hide in case the primates decide that they’re done entertaining the public for awhile. While I believe most zoos should be considering making ecosystem-based enclosures where the animals have the ability to run freely or hide if distressed, I realize this is not possible given economic reasons and also the feasibility of given animals (i.e.: I’m not sure if I believe, based on the zoonoses and some behavioral patterns that are possible between non-human primates and human primates, that this should be considered for great apes, lesser apes, or maybe even old world monkeys.)
Regardless, I’m still impressed with the Milwaukee Zoo. Without keeping you waiting, here are the (good) pictures I’ve managed to take while there. More from my trip can be found here.
All in all, I was very impressed and really liked the primate exhibits. Also of note: the Milwaukee Zoo also has a bushbaby, however, because of a glaucoma in its right eye, the eye had to be removed so I avoided getting a picture of that for the sake of respect. Definitely worth visiting at some point in your life!