Zoo Primates Go Bananas over National Geographic

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"They are not kept in captive populations to amuse people," said Hubing. "They are here because their habitat is critically endangered and we hope to promote their conservation."

The magazines and cardboard boxes strewn about their living quarters help keep the primates' natural instincts alive, said Hubing. Zookeepers hide food in these items, requiring the animals to forage for their meals as they would in the wild.

When the first grade students visited the zoo to make their delivery, zookeepers helped them hide fruits and nuts among the magazines and boxes in the orangutan exhibit.

"We saw one orangutan look at a magazine briefly," said Schlimgen. "It opened it right side up and flipped through a few pages; it then rolled it up and threw it on the ground."

Perhaps those pages were full of boring text, not pictures—or food.

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