Houston Zoo shows off new gorilla habitat

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's been years in the making and Tuesday the Houston Zoo unveiled its new home for its gorillas.

Zoo officials worked with gorillas in the wild and studied what they would need to come up with a perfect home. The new habitat mimics a lush African landscape, including a 23-foot tall climbing tree.

The gorillas warmed up to their new environment immediately.

"You're seeing them forage through all these trees and pull things down, this is exactly what they would do," said Renee Bumpus of the Houston Zoo.

"You can look them in the eye, watch them eat, play, explore," said Bumpus.

Visitors can come face to face with a gorilla, separated by thick safety glass. The gorillas can also be observed from a tree canopy which overlooks a series of ramping boardwalks, or from a lookout over a river bed.

What you may not realize is they may be just as entertained watching you. "They also love the ability to watch people," according to Bumpus

But the gorillas are not alone in their home. There is also a group of red river hogs.

Bumpus says they get along, "Both species love watching each other, the hogs think the gorillas are there to feed them because the gorillas often throw grass at them and things like that."

The exhibit, which houses two groups of gorillas, opens to the public on May 22nd.
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