Monday, August 26, 2002

BONOBOS INVOLVED IN PRIMATE CENTER DESIGN

Kanzi gets a vote on sanctuary design
By Beth Dalbey
Bonobo chimpanzees expected to move to Des Moines by at least spring 2004

Though the design of the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary has yet to be sketched on paper, it will have to pass muster with Kanzi, the celebrated bonobo chimpanzee that responds to voice commands and taught himself to manufacture stone tools.

If allowing Kanzi and seven other bonobos the last word on design of the structure that will be their home by at least spring 2004 seems a bit of a stretch, internationally known researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh assures that it is not. Communication with bonobos, humans' closest living relative with 99 percent similarity in DNA, is limited only by questions asked, she said as she and others associated with the project gathered last week at the proposed 200-acre IPLS site in southeastern Des Moines....

Once a concept is completed, Kanzi and the other bonobos will use a computer joystick to select colors for sleeping quarters and to determine how the kitchen will be arranged. Hind said the name of the facility would be "something that pleases Kanzi," who has been called the Albert Einstein of the primate world by some researchers....