News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
April 28, 2023
NOTE: Scroll to end of press release to download photos.

Ape Awareness Weekend at Brookfield Zoo Brings Attention
to Declining Wild Populations of Gorillas, Orangutans, and White-cheeked Gibbons

Brookfield, Ill. –Swing by Brookfield Zoo for its Ape Awareness Weekend on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fun-filled ape-related activities, which take place in Tropic World, will highlight the Zoo’s three ape species—western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons.

The two-day event highlights the species’ agility, strength, and intelligence while also bringing attention to the plight they face in the wild. Zoogoers of all ages can participate in interactive activities like comparing their arm length and hand size with those of an orangutan and gorilla and building ape-like nests using paper and wheelbarrows. There will be explanations of the types of food that apes eat at Brookfield Zoo as well as a display of items used for training the animals to participate in their own health care.

Guests will be able to see animal care staff providing food to the gorillas at 12:45 p.m. and to South American animals at 2 p.m. both event days. Throughout the weekend, animal care specialists will be on Tropic World’s public walkway sharing knowledge and fun facts while answering any questions guests have about the apes.

A great way to help animals in the wild is to recycle old cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, handheld games, e-readers, and laptops. Rather than throwing them away, bring them to Brookfield Zoo’s next recycling event, which will be later this fall on September 30. Coltan—a metallic ore used in the manufacturing of these products—is primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The greater the demand for these electronics, the greater the demand for coltan, the mining of which
results in the destruction of gorilla habitats. Recycling helps reduce mining and thus supports conservation and species survival.

According to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN), western lowland gorillas, orangutans, and white-cheeked gibbons are all critically endangered in their native habitats. Depending on the species, the causes for the decline in their populations vary from illegal hunting, deforestation, the bushmeat trade, disease, and climate change.

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Photo Captions (credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
3873: Jontu, a western lowland gorilla at Brookfield Zoo, will be highlighted during the Zoo’s Ape Awareness Weekend events.
3569: Animal care staff at Brookfield Zoo will be highlighting the western lowland gorillas, including Nora, during Ape Awareness Weekend.
3640: Two of Brookfield Zoo’s orangutans, Kecil and Kekasih, are being featured during the Zoo’s annual Ape Awareness Weekend event, which brings attention to the plight of these charismatic creatures.
9139: Sophia, an orangutan at Brookfield Zoo, as well as the Zoo’s western lowland gorillas and white-cheeked gibbons, will be featured during Ape Awareness Weekend on April 29 and 30.
7126: Indah and Neubo, white-cheeked gibbons at Brookfield Zoo, are being featured during the Zoo’s annual Ape Awareness Weekend events on April 29 and 30.
8398: Neubo, a white-cheeked gibbon at Brookfield Zoo, as well as the western lowland gorillas and orangutans, will be highlighted during the Zoo’s Ape Awareness Weekend on April 29 and 30.

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people to wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The Zoo is also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, and the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association. Brookfield Zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit



Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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