The Saint Louis Zoo has opened the $13m Primate Canopy Trails, an outdoor habitat that has been under construction since late 2019. The exhibit includes climbing structures that allow visitors to explore the forest canopy alongside the primates.
Spread across 35,000 square feet, the addition consists of eight outdoor homes for lemurs, Old World monkeys and New World monkeys.
Primate Canopy Trails visitors travel in a transparent tunnel from the forest floor to an elevated boardwalk in the treetops where they can enjoy the monkeys and lemurs in their state-of-the-art homes and play areas.
The exhibit features expansive climbing structures that take guests through the habitats. The 1925 Primate House, which was renovated in 1977, will still be used by the zoo’s primates.
New homes for lemurs and monkeys
“Being outside is critical for primates’ wellbeing, and this new habitat is a demonstration of the zoo’s commitment to providing quality animal care,” said Heidi Hellmuth, curator of primates at Saint Louis Zoo.
The Primate House is connected to overhead mesh tunnels, which lead to outdoor spaces for the animals to climb. The new exhibit also includes a Primate Care Center.
The Primate Canopy Trails and Primate House will be enjoyed by around 40 primates representing 14 species, including some endangered and critically endangered species.
“One thing all our primates have in common is their love of the canopies and habitats situated high in the trees,” Hellmuth added.
Home to 40 primates from 14 species
“However, many primates worldwide are threatened with extinction and have declining populations, mostly due to extensive habitat loss, including forests.”
For the exhibit, Saint Louis Zoo received a leadership gift from Michael and Quirsis Riney. “This is an amazing and unique exhibit that will help us connect people to animals like never before,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, president and CEO of Saint Louis Zoo.
“We are deeply appreciative of the Rineys’ charitable support, which will greatly impact both the animals in our care and the experiences of our guests,” Bonner added.
Last year, Saint Louis Zoo closed the Emerson Children’s Zoo in order to reimagine the 3.5-acre family area. Plans are underway for a temporary dinosaur exhibit named Dinoroarus.
Images: Saint Louis Zoo