Thursday, August 22, 2002

Every bonobo really should know how to cook.


Primate site viewed as a global attraction
The research facility should be set up in Des Moines by spring 2004 at the latest.
By TOM SUK Register Staff Writer

International scientists will "be beating a path" to Des Moines to conduct research at the planned $10 million Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary, organizers said Tuesday....

It may take two years before the public can visit Kanzi the bonobo and his family, although groundbreaking is scheduled for December at the latest. The facility, which will specialize in studying communications and behavior of the large primates, should be completed in the fall of 2003 or spring of 2004. Scientists will be allowed to use the facility for a year before it is opened to public viewing of the animals.

Building the primate center in an overgrown area near the Des Moines River instead of near Blank Park Zoo as originally proposed suits center director and internationally known primate researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh just fine.

"This will be an unzoo. It will be a complete reversal of species interaction that you get at a zoo," she said. "In a zoo, they are there for your entertainment, not to learn things or enjoy life."

At the new research facility, human visitors will be treated as guests. Eight primates known as bonobos, similar to chimpanzees, will be moved to Des Moines from a facility at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

"The bonobos will show off their athletic skills, their cooking skills and perform plays. They love to put on costumes and masks," said Savage-Rumbaugh....