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Keeper Stories – Tuesday, January 3

Move over Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence, there are some new celebs on the block! Okay, so our great apes won’t actually be walking the red carpet, but some of their vocalizations may be featured in a big upcoming Hollywood film. A film sound production crew made a stop at Zoo Atlanta to gather sound bites for the third Planet of the Apes movie. They were visiting multiple zoos around the country and were particularly interested in our gorilla population. With so many gorillas, they were bound to get all sorts of vocalizations. Gorillas are very intelligent animals and can communicate in many different ways, including body posturing, chest beats, and of course an array of vocalizations. The crew stopped by in the afternoon before we shifted the gorillas in for the day. They set up microphones and all sorts of equipment around the building.

Myself, along with a few other keepers and our Assistant Curator Jodi Carrigan, were able to help them place the equipment in areas we thought would capture the most gorilla chatter. The crew also gave us portable microphones to walk around with. If a particular individual was being especially vocal we could just walk up to their specific nighttime area. Once everything was set up, the crew hid in our enrichment room so the gorillas wouldn’t see strange people in the building…..we wouldn’t want them getting stage fright of course. We went about our normal afternoon routine trying to gather every vocalization we could. Since the keepers spend so much time with the gorillas, we knew who would be vocalizing the most and when we would get the most vocalizations. Lucky enough for the crew they were able to get lots of grumbles and humming from our amazing group of gorillas. They were also able to capture some playtime noises, alert calls, hooting, and chest beats. Be on the lookout for the new Planet of the Apes movie and make sure to listen closely for some familiar animal noises!
Ashley Webb
Seasonal Keeper, Primates

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl