I received the following information as a blogger via Walt Disney Publications. While I’m attending an expense paid trip by Disney to the press events for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Monkey Kingdom, all opinions are 100% my own.
While out in Los Angeles last week, I attended a screening of Disneynature’s MONKEY KINGDOM, which opens in theaters on April 17th! This family-friendly documentary tells the tale of Maya, a toque macaque monkey living with her troop aka monkey kingdom, in the ruins of Sri Lanka. Want to hear something really cool though? If you see MONKEY KINGDOM during its opening week (April 17-23), Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to Conservation International!! What a great way to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats! I mean, look at that sweet face below. That’s exactly who you’ll be helping if you see MONKEY KINGDOM during its opening week.
After the screening, 24 other bloggers and I headed to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens for a private tour… specifically to check out the monkey exhibits and see first hand some of the species we could help save! Special thanks to Cathy Walker, the Manager of Private and Special Events for the LA Zoo, who took us around the grounds. Oh yes, did I mention that we each took a plush Maya (which we received in a gift bag after the screening), so join in on the fun? Know what is really awesome about these plush monkeys? The Disney Store will donate $1 to Conservation International for every Disneynature plush Maya and Kip purchased now through May 14th (with a minimum donation of $2000).
The LA Zoo opened back in 1966 and is home to more than 1,100 mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles! Some of the animals we saw included an American black bear, Asian elephants, giraffes, koalas, kangaroos, North American river otters, Indian rhinoceros, hippopotamus, tapirs, and a Sumatran tiger. As for the primates? Just to name a few… we saw black howler monkeys, chimpanzees, François’s langurs, moustached guenons, Kikuyu colobus monkeys, Red Uakaris, siamangs, and the cotton-top tamirins.
My favorite part of the zoo though? The babies! With Spring arriving, babies are everywhere at the zoo. Some of the new baby animals include a hippo, koala, howler monkey, colobus monkey, giraffe, giant river otter pups, peninsular pronghorn, Coquerel’s sifaka, five baby chimps, and the newly hatched piranha!!
LA Zoo Animals
So first up, let’s chat about some of the animals I saw! Below is a photo of CJ, the Sumatran tiger that resides at the Zoo. The LA Zoo is currently in the middle of finding him a partner. CJ had absolutely no interest in coming up to see the zoo-goers. He was quite content lounging in the shade. Honestly though? I don’t blame him! It was the perfect day to relax outside anyway.
One of my son’s favorite animals is the elephant! Luckily the LA Zoo had an Asian elephant residing at the park. I quickly snapped a photo for my son to message back to him.The two hippos that reside at the zoo recently had a little baby girl, named Rosie. I couldn’t quite catch a glimpse of her, as she nestled between her mom and dad.
Another one of the babies at the zoo is the kangaroo joey! The LA Zoo is actually currently hosting a #NameOurRoo contest. Check out the hashtag for details! Isn’t the joey so cute?
Of course in the same pen as the kangaroos are the koala bears! I didn’t quite catch a good picture of the baby, but even as adults, these creatures are still super adorable.
Now the main reason why we were at the LA Zoo was to see the monkey exhibits! As you can see below in the official movie poster for MONKEY KINGDOM (and of course through the name), the film is about monkeys!
One of the monkeys we saw at the zoo were actually featured in the film as well (in a segment that is pretty hilarious!).
At the zoo resides a Chimp Troop that actually has five, yes five, chimp babies under the age of three years old. We learned all about these gift communicators and even got to watch chimp communication in action.Chimpanzees are highly intelligent and quite the gifted communicators! They use facial expressions and gestures to communicate to one another, as they are quite social creatures. It was interesting to watch them interact with one another in the habitat. Very human-like in their nature!
Another cool monkey we saw was the red uakari! Like the chimps, they too live in large troops. The troops can get up to 100 animals! Don’t worry about the red faces though. While it may look like a bad sunburn, a red face is usually sign of a very healthy monkey.Next to the uakaris’ habitat at the zoo is the one for the black howler monkeys! Despite the name, it is actually only the adult males who are black. Adult females and juveniles/babies are a golden tan color. In the image below you can see the mom howler monkey on the left, and the baby howler monkey on the right. Funny enough, once the zookeeper started giving the monkeys a few grapes, dad howler monkey decided to make an appearance!Some of the coolest monkeys I saw at the zoo were the Kikuyu colobus. You can distinguish them by their absolutely beautiful and striking black and white fur with long, luxurious coats. See their white tails below? In colobus troops, everyone pitches in when it comes to raising the babies! There were a couple babies in the habitat and it was funny to watch not just the moms, but the grandma and aunt each take turns cuddling the baby. Even the dads are quite hands on!
One of the monkey exhibits we checked out at the LA Zoo was the siamangs! These black furred gibbons are distinguishable by the large air sac on their throat. Siamangs use the sacs to produce loud calls in order to claim their territory in the morning. However, their calls can have another motive…Siamangs mate for life. When the pairs call together, it is referred to as duetting. Pretty much this duetting tells the jungle the mated pair is together. Lucky for us zoo-goers, we got to catch a pair of mated siamangs duetting! I caught a bit of it on my phone, so check out the video below to seem the siamangs in action.
Maya & Me
As I mentioned before, each of us bloggers received a plush Maya monkey. It was so much fun to take the monkeys into the park and snap fun photos!
Of course I took Maya on the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel! This amazing ride features 64 unique hand-carved wooden figures and a universally accessible standing chariot! Yes, I totally picked the screaming bald eagle to ride…
Monkey Kingdom Trailer
Now since our trip to the zoo was inspired by Disneynature’s MONKEY KINGDOM, it’s only natural that I share the trailer with you! Love love love the story! I’ll have a post up later this week telling you exactly why. For now though… check the trailer out…
MONKEY KINGDOM is out, this Friday, April 17th!
REMINDER: For every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2015), Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats! Learn more by clicking the information sheet below…
Want a glimpse back on my trip to Los Angeles? Be sure to check out my Twitter (@AshBG) and Instagram (@ashb4211), and look for the hashtags #AvengersEvent, #MonkeyKingdom, #LAZoo, #ABCTVEvent, and #AgentsOfSHIELD.