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Dine At Zoo's Rainforest Restaurant And Help Save Orang Utans

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

14 OCTOBER 2008 - For one night only, Auckland Zoo is offering a unique dining experience in its rainforest to raise funds to help Sumatran orang utans in the wild - a species now critically endangered due to the rapid growth of palm oil plantations.

Dining in the company of spider monkeys, siamangs and tamarins, and being waited on by zookeepers, is just part of what will be a unique and unforgettable night out for adventurous foodies and animal lovers on Sunday 9 November - the start of Orang utan Caring Week (9 - 14 November).

The evening (4.45pm to 9.30pm) will also include going behind the scenes to meet some of the Zoo's animals up close. First up will be an encounter with elephants Kashin and Burma, followed by the chance to watch them paint - an activity they enjoy as part of their behavioural enrichment programme. One lucky guest will get to keep the painting.

Other up-close experiences will include a visit to Visa Entertainment Tiger Territory to watch a tiger encounter, followed by mystery tours with keepers to meet a range of other animals.

A professionally catered three-course meal, guaranteed to be palm oil-free, will then be served by primate keepers in the heart of the Newstalk ZB Rainforest.

Live music will add to the ambiance of the evening, and scatter feeds will keep the rainforest's resident animals active and interested. There will also be the opportunity to chat with the keepers - many of whom star on 'The Zoo' TV show.

"This is a dining experience like no other. More importantly, it's one that is going to be helping orang utans. "These incredibly beautiful great apes are genetically over 97% similar to us humans, and yet sadly, are being decimated because of human activity," says Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund officer, Peter Fraser.

"Orang utan habitat in Sumatra and Borneo is being destroyed and logged unsustainably. This is despite the fact that there is already plenty of cleared land suitable for growing palm oil - but those companies involved want to make money from both the wood and palm oil. Palm oil is now used in so many everyday products and current labelling does not specify whether the palm oil has come from a sustainable source or not. "We can all make a difference by finding alternatives to these products. Unless we act now to help orang utans - our closest relatives - they will all be gone within our lifetime," says Mr Fraser.

The cost per person for this exclusive experience is $200 per person (including drinks). Bookings can be made for a minimum of two people or a maximum of 10. For further details and to view the rainforest restaurant's menu, visit www.aucklandzoo.co.nz To book, phone (09) 360 3800, Ext. 3828.

All proceeds from the evening will go to assist the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project (SOCP) and its 'Wildlife Protection Units' in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Sumatra's Jambi province. For more about palm oil and orang utans visit www.aucklandzoo.co.nz www.palmoilaction.org.au and www.sumatranorangutan.com.

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