While in LA for the Avengers: Age of Ultron screening last week, we had the pleasure of also screening Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom.
Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up on the social ladder. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family is forced to relocate, where she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to lead them to untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings.
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. That’s an added incentive to purchase your ticket for Disneynature Monkey Kingdom NOW – help the monkeys, guys!!
Check back on Friday for my movie review, but for now, I want to share an amazing experience we had right after screening Monkey Kingdom at Walt Disney Studios: we went to the LA Zoo to see some of their monkeys!
It was my first time visiting the LA Zoo and I was happy to find that they had a lot of different species of monkeys from all over the world! Of course, they also had a ton of other really cool exhibits, but as the theme of our trip that day was Monkey Kingdom, today’s post is about the monkeys! Oh, and a kangaroo…but more on that later!
My favorite experience in the LA Zoo was the Siamang monkeys, which are actually lesser apes and part of the Gibbon family. They’re actually the largest and the loudest of the Gibbon family and that’s just why this was my favorite exhibit – their call!
Male and female Siamangs mate for life and when they pair up, they actually sing together. Well, it’s technically called a “call,” but it sounds like singing, and the male and female each have a specific part of the song that they sing to each other. While we were there, their caretaker began speaking to Charlotte, the female Siamang, and she began her call. Sam, her mate, was hesitant at first, but then he began joining in…and then it was a party!!
Sam and Charlotte began their call, with increasing and decreasing levels of sound, bellowing so loudly that people came from all over the zoo to listen! When a Siamang pair have babies, the mom and dad teach their children their parts in the song so that they can carry on the tradition!
Their keeper explained that knowledge of the song isn’t something that Siamang babies are born with, their parents much teach them! The moms teach their daughters their part and the dads teach their sons their part – it’s really quite interesting, isn’t it? This is one of the many reasons I find monkeys so fascinating! It reminds me of how cultures keep stories alive by passing them down generation to generation.
The LA Zoo has a breeding program to help maintain species that are highly endangered and critically endangered, which I think is just fantastic. There were so many babies in the zoo when we visited, it was awesome to see them up close – like this baby chimpanzee!
While we were watching the chimpanzees, their keeper fed them fruits and snacks. They are such smart animals, they knew exactly where to go for their food! One of the chimpanzees has diabetes and is sped a special diet and also receives two daily insulin injections – I had no idea that chimpanzees could get diabetes! Chimpanzees are so intelligent that the zookeepers were able to train the diabetic monkey to tell them which arm she prefers to get her shot in each time!
I love Howler monkeys, and the LA Zoo had a family of howler monkeys in the rainforest exhibit, even a little baby! The rain forest keeper fed them grapes while we were at their exhibit and it was really fun to watch them swing around and reach for their snack!
Remember how I said they have a lot of babies at the LA Zoo? Well…there’s a baby kangaroo there right now and they’re running a contest to name him! Checkout the zoo website for more details!
We had a great time meeting the monkeys at the LA Zoo, and it was really fun to see real life monkeys right in front of us after watching Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom.
Disneynature Monkey Kingdom opens in theaters everywhere on April 17th!
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Visit the official Monkey Kingdom website: http://nature.disney.com/monkey-kingdom