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The many faces of our primate area

Hello! Brittney, Seasonal Keeper from Primates here. Last time you heard from me I was talking about the difference between the Carnivore Department and the Bird Department, and now I am going to give you some insight on my time in the Primate Department thus far. I swing from area to area (pun intended), and that means I am lucky enough to get to know all of the animals we take care of in this very large department. Primates is split into a couple different areas: gorillas, orangutans, small African primates or SAP, and tamarin/sloth/lemur. Sloths are not primates for those of you who do not know, but the Primate Department takes care of them here at the Zoo.

All of these areas are very different, and so are the protocols and routines. In gorillas, we have 20 different individuals who form five different groups. In orangutans, we have 11 different individuals who form four different groups. SAP has four different species of Old World monkeys, with a total of 18 individuals. Lemurs has seven individuals of three different lemur species. Lastly, we have three Hoffman’s two-toed sloths, eight golden lion tamarins, and two Geoffroy’s tamarins. These individual animals have different names, faces, personalities, diets, enrichment items that they can and cannot have, and safety protocols for each different routine. At first this was very overwhelming for me to memorize and know how to recognize every different individual, but with time now I can confidently say I know pretty much everyone! This is a very important aspect of being an animal care professional. First and foremost is to be able to identify each animal you work with and know what is normal behavior for them, as well as knowing what they can and cannot have in terms of food and enrichment items. I have enjoyed getting to know each one them (some more than others) and figuring out each one’s fun and quirky personality!
Brittney Lie Tjauw
Seasonal Keeper I, Primates

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