Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three peaks, three keepers; on a mission to help save apes

Three peaks, three keepers; on a mission to help save apes

Photo courteousy of Bristol Zoo

Three daring keepers from Bristol Zoo Gardens will be tackling the three highest mountains in Britain next week, to raise money for apes.

Robert Rouse, Simon Butler and Mathew Richards aim to complete the demanding ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ - Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon - in 24 hours.

The trio are scaling the three summits in support of a campaign to raise awareness and help protect endangered apes in the wild, and will take it in turns to wear a gorilla suit at the summit of each of the three mountains.

There are currently six species of great apes and 16 species of gibbons, all under threat from hunting, deforestation and disease. Without awareness and funding to tackle the problems facing these species, they could become extinct.

Rob Rouse, overseer of mammals at Bristol Zoo, has worked with apes and monkeys for 11 years. He said: “We’re looking forward to this exciting challenge, it will be tough but we’ve trained hard and feel well prepared. It’s great to be able to do something to help raise funds and awareness for these amazing creatures.”

The three will begin their challenge at the foot of Ben Nevis in Western Scotland, which is 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) high, at 5pm on Tuesday, August 24, and they hope to finish at 5pm the following day.

Mathew, Robert and Simon are now appealing for donations and sponsorship for their challenge. For more information, and to show your support, please visit the Zoo website  to make a donation. You can also visit their Facebook page to follow their progress at

The ‘Ape Campaign’ is being run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), led by Dr Bryan Carroll, the soon-to-be new Director of Bristol Zoo.

To find out more about how you can help raise money for Bristol Zoo’s conservation work contact Lizy Jones on  or by phone on 0117 974 7329.

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