[monkeywire] Great Ape Trust of Iowa unveiled

Andrew Hund axh69 at po.cwru.edu
Fri Jun 11 11:47:31 EDT 2004

>From Great Ape Trust of Iowa
Thursday, June 10, 2004

New name and public partnership opportunities introduced; details given on
arrival of first apes to Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa - June 10, 2004 - A world-class great ape research center
scheduled to begin operations in Iowa has a new name, a new public
partnership program and apes arriving this summer. With a backdrop of work
crews and building construction, founder Ted Townsend stood lakeside today
on the project's sprawling campus and unveiled Great Ape Trust of Iowa.

"Two years ago we introduced this project, exactly one year ago we began
work on the site - today we take another important step forward," says
Townsend, a Des Moines businessman. "As Great Ape Trust we are even more
focused on our mission of research, conservation and education."

Great Ape Trust began as the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary in early 2002.
In June of 2003, work crews began developing the former sand and gravel
quarry near the Des Moines River. Located about five miles southeast of
downtown Des Moines on approximately 200 acres of lowlands, river forest and
lakes, Great Ape Trust of Iowa will be among the largest great ape
facilities in North America and one of the first worldwide to include all
four types of great ape: bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans for
the study of their cognitive and communicative capabilities.

"Great Ape Trust of Iowa is more than a place or an organization - it's the
experience of a new reality," says Townsend. "That's why trust is such an
appropriate word - it represents strength, credibility and conviction as
well as hope, faith and reliance. It is precisely what the project embodies
and what great apes deserve."


Starting today, the general public has the opportunity to be part of Great
Ape Trust and directly support research, conservation and education efforts.
The program is called Partners of Great Ape Trust and is available for
online registration at the not-for-profit organization's redesigned Web
site, www.GreatApeTrust.org. With gift levels of $25, $100 and $250
supporters will receive exclusive Great Ape Trust merchandise that includes
books written and signed by Great Ape Trust scientists, window decals, caps,
tote bags, electronic newsletters, Great Ape Trust email addresses and
promotional offers.

"We receive calls and emails from the public each day asking how they can
support great apes and become involved in our efforts - Partners of Great
Ape Trust makes that a possibility," says Kirk Brocker, executive-director
of Great Ape Trust. "The online Partner's program will serve as the
foundation of our grassroots fund-raising efforts and is as boundless as the
Internet itself."


Two orangutans, Azy and Indah, from the Smithsonian National Zoo in
Washington, DC will be the first apes to arrive at Great Ape Trust of Iowa.
Brother and sister, the orangutans have been part of Dr. Rob Shumaker's
Think Tank project at the National Zoo. Dr. Shumaker is director of the
orangutan research program at Great Ape Trust and joined the project as a
consultant in June of 2003. The building that will house Azy and Indah will
be completed in early July; an inspection team from the American Zoological
and Aquarium Association (AZA) will visit the site next week - followed by
an inspection from National Zoo officials.

"We're confident we'll be ready to transfer Azy and Indah to Iowa by next
month," says Shumaker.

The nearly three-story, 30' by 50' orangutan structure will serve as a home
for Azy and Indah for the next one to two years. Design concepts are
currently being created for a larger facility that could eventually house up
to a dozen orangutans. The original orangutan building will then be used as
additional housing for great apes.


As work crews finalize the orangutan building, construction progresses on
the 13,000 square foot bonobo facility. That facility is expected to be
completed in the fall of 2004. A family of bonobos will be transferred to
Great Ape Trust from Georgia State University's Language Research Center
near Atlanta. Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, whose work with Kanzi has been
documented internationally, will direct the bonobo research program at Great
Ape Trust.

"What is being created in Iowa for the great apes is phenomenal, but it goes
well beyond buildings and research efforts," says Savage-Rumbaugh. "Great
Ape Trust will exemplify the essence and soul of great apes."


Great Ape Trust is dedicated to providing sanctuary and an honorable life
for great apes, studying the intelligence of great apes, advancing
conservation of great apes and providing unique educational experiences
about great apes. To learn more about Great Ape Trust of Iowa, go to

For more information, contact:

Al Setka
Director of Communications
Great Ape Trust of Iowa
1533 Linden Street, Suite 200
Des Moines, IA 50309
asetka at yahoo.com

Web site:


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