Meet Mari. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur courtesy of NEAVS
Each large ape habitat has attached night houses that not only provide a place to sleep at night, but also a place to rest during the day if the apes wish to retreat from summer rainstorms or the hot Florida sun. The night houses have high nesting areas, hammocks, and bed-shelves. They are heated in the winter and are strong enough to safely withstand Florida hurricanes.
All indoor and outdoor habitats have security cameras and audio monitors so the staff can see day and night from several locations that the apes in each night house are safe and well.
Elevated Tunnel/Chute System
Our residents are free to explore, using a unique feature of our facility - an elevated tunnel system that meanders more than one and a half miles through the property. This chute system connects all the enclosures allowing both the orangutans and the chimpanzees the liberty to run through the woods and across the creek. They enjoy going over to watch other groups of apes at the sanctuary as well as following the staff and visitors around the Center.
Special Needs Habitat
A specially designed indoor and outdoor area suited to the unique needs of handicapped and older apes was completed in 2008. The first resident was our young chimpanzee with cerebral palsy, Knuckles. The outdoor areas are designed to be long, but narrow so that while residents have 60-feet of "walk-ahead" space, they are only 15-feet away from any of several doors leading into the night rooms. So, when a big storm is coming, or very cold weather is near, the staff has only a short distance to bring them inside for safety.
The inside rooms of the ape habitat have special adaptations also. One entire cage wall moves to gently push a resident back to a corner so that when there is the need to administer treatment or medication, the ape can be contained and safely handled through the cage mesh by the caregiver staff. There is also special rubber flooring installed to insulate and cushion against injury. Video and audio equipment installed here allows 24-hour monitoring by the staff.