OKLAHOMA CITY – It was World Chimp Day at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Sunday, giving visitors an up-close and personal chance to better understand our closest cousins in the animal kingdom.
“It kinda falls in line with the day Jane Goodall first started studying wild chimpanzees on July 14,” said zookeeper Pace Frank.
The 2nd annual event targeted visitors of all ages. Kids got the chance to connect with the zoo’s seven different chimps.
“I think they’re really funny whenever they play around,” said Hayden, who visited the zoo with her parents.
“They really like the interaction with the guests. They like to see what the kids are drawing and they also like to hit the windows and watch them squeal,” Frank said.
But the animals face a series of challenges in the wild, including poaching.
“We picked an organization that we wanted to sponsor for the event. It’s based out of the Congo and they do rehabilitation for chimps who have been victims of the bushmeat or pet trade,” Frank said.
Visitors said the chimps are cute enough to make you want to be friends.
“They’re cute. They’re cute and gorgeous,” said Ronnie and Akhyla, who visited the zoo with family.
But you don’t want to take one home with you.
“They’re incredibly strong. They would not make good pets. They’re incredibly dirty. That’s a big issue they fight in the wild, so it’s good to educate and keep people in the know,” Frank said.