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BUSCH GARDENS RECEIVES FIVE GORILLAS FOR NEW HABITAT

 BUSCH GARDENS RECEIVES FIVE GORILLAS FOR NEW HABITAT
 TAMPA, Fla., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- With great fanfare, the inhabitants of Busch Gardens' nearly completed primate habitat arrived in Tampa last week to settle into their new home.
 Hundreds of visitors looked on as the five lowland gorillas, each in an individual transfer enclosure, made their way down a sidewalk in the theme park and into "Myombe Reserve: The Great Ape Domain."
 Although the habitat will not be open to the public until early summer, its indoor night quarters were completed early so that the gorillas would have time to adjust to their new indoor surroundings before being introduced to their lush outdoor habitat.
 When the habitat opens to the public in June, guests will have an opportunity to see firsthand the world of primates.
 The gorillas are on long-term loan from Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University in Atlanta. The Yerkes gorillas, two males and three females, made the trip from Georgia in two insulated, air-cooled trucks.
 Years of planning went into creation of the project and the transfer of the animals from Yerkes to Busch Gardens. But for the Yerkes caretakers, the departure was bittersweet.
 "As hard as we try to remain detatched, you can't help but get to know them and love them," said Karen Ihde, one of two caretakers who accompanied the gorillas from Atlanta.
 At the Yerkes Center in Atlanta, about 25 employees, including Dr. Frederick King, director of the center, turned out to bid the gorillas farewell.
 "Take care of our babies," said Toni Duffey, a Yerkes animal care specialist. Despite her tears, Duffey said she was happy for the gorillas. "It's so important for them to have this wonderful habitat at Busch," she said.
 The five gorillas from Yerkes were the last to leave the center. A total of 22 other gorillas have been loaned to three other U.S. zoos.
 "Through these careful placements of our gorillas at zoological parks, the Yerkes Center provides the public with an opportunity to learn about these fascinating great apes," King said.
 "Television programs and books about gorillas can tell you only so much. Since most people can't travel to Africa to see gorillas in their natural environments, we depend on zoos for the experience of observing these apes."
 At Busch Gardens, the conservation oriented studies of the five gorillas will continue, said Sheila Wood, curator of the new primate habitat.
 She reported that the animals' move from Atlanta to Tampa went smoothly. "We took every precaution transporting these animals to ensure their well being," she said, adding that the gorillas were eating calmly and inspecting their new facility within minutes after their arrival.
 "I must admit, even though I've spent only several days with them, I'm very fond of them," Wood said. "Each is an individual with likes and dislikes. And caring for them is going to be a joy."
 In another few weeks, the five new Busch Gardens residents will be introduced to the Myombe grounds to explore and settle in. They will then be joined by a sixth gorilla, "Lash," a silverback male who will become the group's breeding male. Owned by Busch Gardens, "Lash" will be brought from his temporary home at the Cheyene Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo.
 Meanwhile, in another section of the Myombe Reserve, workers are preparing a second habitat for Busch Gardens' group of nine chimpanzees. While the chimp and gorilla groups will each have their own habitats, together they represent Myombe Reserve's residents and will share with visitors their own uniqueness in their natural environments.
 Wood and her staff of caretakers admit they have an enormous task ahead to ensure that each animal adapts carefully and happily to the new environment.
 "By June we hope they will all be comfortably at home," Wood said. "Then the public can begin enjoying them, too."
 Busch Gardens Tampa is an Anheuser-Busch theme park. Other Anheuser-Busch theme parks include Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a European-themed family entertainment attraction in Williamsburg, Va.; Sea World marine parks in Orlando, Fla., San Diego, San Antonio, and Aurora, Ohio; Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Fla.; and Sesame Place, a play park for children and their families in Langhorne, Pa. Sesame Place was developed by Busch Entertainment and Children's Television Workshop, the creators of "Sesame Street." Anheuser-Busch theme parks have 15,000 employees nationwide.
 -0- 4/21/92
 /CONTACT: Amelia Brazell or Peggy Allen, 314-982-1700, both of Busch Gardens Tampa/ CO: Busch Gardens ST: Florida IN: LEI SU:


MM-RM -- SF011 -- 0889 04/21/92 16:50 EDT
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Date:Apr 21, 1992
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