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Great Ape Heart Project Finds New Home at Detroit Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 2, 2022 11:59 am

Great Ape Heart Project Moves to Detroit Zoo

The logo of the great ape heart project has been updated to reflect the move

Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

After being based at Zoo Atlanta since its inception in 2010 the Great Ape Heart Project (GAHP) has moved its base to the Detroit Zoo. The GAHP is a network of experts who work together to create clinical, pathologic and research strategies to aid in understanding and treating cardiac disease in all ape species.

Cardiac disease is the leading cause of death to be observed in ape species living in zoos.

“The Great Ape Heart Project was created to address a specific need in the zoological community,” said Dr. Hayley W. Murphy, director emeritus of the GAHP and executive director/CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). “It’s critical to investigate, diagnose and treat heart disease among great apes. The information that comes from this international, multi-institutional project saves lives around the world.”

As a collaborative project the GAHP was founded to create a centralized database which analyzes cardiac data, generates reports and coordinates cardiac-related research.

Great Ape Heart Project Moves to Detroit Zoo

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake hatchlings at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

“For more than a decade, the project has maintained a hub for researchers that includes more than 90% of the individual great apes in institutions that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The project allows participants to compare and contrast data from nearly 80 institutions,” said Dr. Marietta Danforth, director of the GAHP.

“Prior to this move, Detroit was like a second home for us because we had so many fruitful meetings here at the Zoo. It’s exciting to have it be our home base now.”

In 2020 the GAHP received the prestigious Research Award from the AZA. This award recognized their achievements in advancing scientific research among accredited zoos and aquariums throughout the U.S.

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Detroit Zoo provide a home for two families of great apes with three gorillas and 12 chimpanzees living at the Great Apes of Harambee habitat. This 4-acre habitat is located in the zoo's African forest.

Gorillas and orangutans are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Chimpanzees and bonobos are listed as endangered by the IUCN. 

Learn more about Gorillas here – Gorilla Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Chimpanzees here – Chimpanzee Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Detroit Zoo on their website – Detroit Zoo

Great Ape Heart Project Moves to Detroit Zoo

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Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

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