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September 20, 2004





            Efforts to build a new habitat for Rusti the Orangutan have received a major boost with a $100,000 contribution from a generous donor to the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI).


            Erin Keck of The Chelsey Foundation, a Big Island organization devoted to the welfare of animals, presented the check today (Monday, September 20) to Dr. Birute Galdikas, founder of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI).  The presentation was made at Rusti’s current exhibit at the Honolulu Zoo.


            Last month, the Honolulu City Council approved the gift of a new habitat for Rusti, making him a permanent resident of the Zoo.  The construction will be shared between the The Chelsey Foundation, City and OFI, which had already pledged  $200,000 to the project.  


The new habitat will be located behind the reptile house, just beyond the African spurred tortoise exhibit.  Groundbreaking is targeted for November 1 and the new habitat is expected to be completed by the beginning of next summer.


            “Our zoo personnel have been working with volunteers from OFI to provide caring daily attention to Rusti while he awaits his new home,” said City Managing Director Ben Lee, who represented Mayor Jeremy Harris at the presentation ceremony.  “We at the City continue to be committed to Rusti’s welfare, and we are delighted that our goal of a suitable home environment will finally be realized.”






Monday, September 20, 2004

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