The North Carolina Zoo’s Chimpanzee Exhibit opened in 1982 as a major break-through in Great Ape Exhibitry in Zoos. With it's tall canopy hardwoods, exposed bedrock and moat barriers, the exhibit transformed the way we expect to see Great Apes housed in Zoos.
Over time, other concerns surfaced. The chimps became more and more aggravated at the visitors. The Visitors became more and more aggressive to the Chimps. Behavioral problems resulted in violent reactions and threat displays from both sides of the exhibit. When analyzed, it was clear that change was needed in the interface between the visitors and the Chimps.
Ursa was invited to join the In-house design team at the zoo to solve the problem and create an enriched environment for both parties. The results are in. The Chimps have returned to their home to find climbing trees, lush plantings, soft soils and shady resting places. The visitors have returned to find the chimps, more at ease, less threatening, more worthy of respect.
The Exhibit has been renovated, but it is the behaviors that have really changed the most.