Preparations are almost complete for the arrival of the first apes at a private research center located near Des Moines. Rob Shumaker, is the director of orangutan research at Great Ape Trust, and says two apes he has studied for years will soon move to Iowa. He says Azy and Indah are the first two great apes to come to the facility and he says as far as they know, they’re the first two orangutans that have ever lived in the State of Iowa. Shumaker says the two orangutans are moving from the national zoo in Washington, D.C. He’s been studying the male and female for the last ten years, and will continue that work when they arrive. He says he’s studying their language abilities and their ability to use and understand numbers. They’ll study how they use tools, and how they use and perceive music. He says it’s been a year-long process planning to move the orangutans. They’ll leave Washington in specially designed boxes.They’ll leave on a charter flight that will fly directly to Des Moines and then be trucked to the Great Ape Trust campus. Shumaker isn’t sure how long it will take the great apes to get used to their new home in the Hawkeye State.He says orangutans are individuals, so it’s hard to predict how well the two will adapt. Although, he says he believes they will adapt quickly and be back to normal in a day or two. The organizers say the Great Ape Trust of Iowa will be the largest great ape facility in North America and one of the first worldwide to include all four types of great ape: bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.
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