Los Angeles Zoo Primate Expert Teams Up With U.S. Zoos for Rare International Great Ape Workshop in China

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

June 20, 2017

Collaboration Between East and West Allows Zoo Professionals to Improve Care for Great Apes Around the World 


Megan Fox & Orangutans 5-18-17 Photo By Tad Motoyama

In a rare occurrence, China invited four U.S. primate experts, including from the Los Angeles Zoo, to an international workshop on great ape husbandry and welfare at Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo from January 12-19, 2017. The eight-day seminar focused on the management of orangutans and chimpanzees in Chinese zoos and opened doors between Chinese and U.S. zoo professionals to improve care for these species around the world. The result of these workshops enhanced the ever-growing body of knowledge used to aid the conservation of these endangered and critically endangered species.

“This workshop was an exciting opportunity to share information as a global Zoo community working together with common goals in mind,” said Los Angeles Zoo Animal Keeper Megan Kathryn Fox. “We need to be partners to address the issues these species are facing in the wild and to make advances in our field. We will take the information we learned from each other and use this when we are teaching and educating the public about these animals and the roles of Zoos in conservation.”

Along with the U.S. experts, keepers from other zoos in Shanghai and Hangzhou gathered together for in-depth discussions that included: research, nutrition, exhibit design, behavioral management, animal welfare, primate communication, training, primate social groups, and enrichment.

The seminar built a bridge for more international communication regarding the care for orangutans, chimpanzees, and hopefully other species in the future. Participants on both sides left with a deeper appreciation for the passion and dedication that each puts into the care of their animals. This visit has built a pathway to China hosting their first national orangutan workshop scheduled for 2018, to be attended by all orangutan keepers across the country and by zoo professionals from the L.A. Zoo.

Participants from the United States Included:

Dr. Graham L. Banes: Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Visiting Scientist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Research Associate at Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo. Dr. Banes has worked with more than 150 zoos in mainland China and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the forthcoming Chinese-language Orangutan Husbandry Manual.

Megan Kathryn Fox: Primate Keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, CA. Fox serves as an Editor of the Chinese-language Orangutan Husbandry Manual.

Linda Jacobs: Director of Primate Care at Jungle Island in Miami, FL. Jacobs has authored a chapter on enrichment for the Chinese-language Orangutan Husbandry Manual.

Janine Steele: Lead Primate Keeper at the Sacramento Zoo, CA. Steele is contributing to numerous chapters of the Chinese-language Orangutan Husbandry Manual, as both an author and reviewer.

About the Los Angeles Zoo:
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.