Indianapolis Zoo officials say its new International Orangutan Center exhibit will be an important step toward raising public interest for saving the endangered primates.
Zoo officials, donors, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard were among those taking part in a ceremony Tuesday marking the start of construction for the $21.5 million center that is expected to open in May 2014.
The new exhibit will feature an open-air cable system allowing the orangutans to travel overhead around parts of the zoo outside the enclosure and an aerial gondola ride for visitors to see the animals from above.
The center will house eight orangutans, which are native to the forests of the southeastern Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.