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Virginia Zoo opens outdoor habitat to orangutans

Tuesday - 6/12/2012, 7:06am  ET

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Two orangutans at the Virginia Zoo have access to an outdoor habitat for the first time.

Pepper and Schnitz have been together since being reunited in 1995. They came to the Norfolk zoo in 2011. Both were born in a zoo and raised in Brookfield, Ill.

Zookeeper Adrienne Esson says while the 32-year-old Pepper has ventured outside on several occasions, the 30-year-old Schnitz has only peaked out the screen door of his exhibit.

The zoo says the orangutans had never before experienced direct sunlight or walked on soft grass. The outdoor exhibit also will give them the chance to venture onto a 40-foot climbing structure, 16-foot sway poles, vine-like ropes, raised platforms and hammocks.


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