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Great News for ABQ BioPark Ape Community

After nearly two months battling the highly infectious Shigella bacteria, animals resume with normal activities.

Oct. 15, 2021 - After about two months of battling the Shigella bacteria, the Zoo’s apes are on the upswing.

All of the Zoo’s orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas are back on exhibit eating, exploring and interacting with one another.

Hasani the gorilla, who had previously been a critical case, continues to improve and went out in his yard for the first time two weeks ago. Last week, he was reintroduced to fellow bachelors Mashudu and Jack. Keepers say he is doing well; he just needs to put on a bit more weight to get back to full health.

“We are extremely relieved that our apes are back out and starting to act like their old selves again,” said Lynn Tupa, Zoo manager. “While this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our apes and animal care staff, it’s such a relief now for us all to see this light at the end of the tunnel.”

The ABQ BioPark would like to thank the community for its support over the past few months.  While we were saddened by the loss of four beloved primates— siamangs Rue, Johore and Brian, and Huerfanita the gorilla—we are incredibly grateful that the remaining apes are feeling better after a difficult few months. 

Eerie, Brian and Johore’s 4-year-old son, will be moving to another Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facility, where he will live with two female siamangs. This is an important move, as siamangs are social animals.

“While we are sad to see Eerie go, this is the best thing possible for his emotional wellbeing,” Tupa said. “We are still working on the details, but we are excited for Eerie to get the opportunity to be part of a new family group.”

The ABQ BioPark continues to test weekly for Shigella in its primates. Once all of the animals are completely clear of the bacteria, the Zoo will slowly begin phasing out the use of PPE. Heightened cleaning protocols are here to stay, however, and keeper and animal safety remain top priority.