Zoo Hires Olympic Gymnast to Teach Orangutans How to Swing

Most monkeys naturally know how to swing -- but when orangutans at Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen were having trouble, the zoo hired gymnast Epke Zonderland to help them.

In most cases, the apes have us beat when it comes to swinging from trees – but not the orangutans at a zoo in the Netherlands, Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen. Although their enclosure was recently renovated to give the apes ample space to soar from branch to branch, they seem to have forgotten the natural movement, preferring to lounge around on the ground instead.

So, the zoo hired Olympic gymnast Epke Zonderland to teach them how to swing. “It is said that we can learn from apes how to climb, but this time they’ve asked me to get the apes back into the trees,” he told The Scotsman.

He held his training session last Friday, and modeled the swinging behavior for the apes using some typical playground equipment: you guessed it, monkey bars.

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