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Endangered gorillas head back to school at Zoo Knoxville's Great Ape Academy

The zookeepers work one-on-one with the Western Lowland gorilla family, providing enrichment training that includes welfare assessment to creating art!

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Kids all across East Tennessee are back in school, but it's not just humans getting back to the classroom! 

Zoo Knoxville has its own classroom, of sorts: The Great Ape Academy.

The zookeepers work one-on-one with the Western Lowland gorilla family, providing enrichment training that includes everything from welfare assessment to creating art!

Several of the young gorillas are at the age where they soak up new knowledge like a sponge. The great ape zoo keepers are working one-on-one with their students to teach them how to grow and learn, as well to help zookeepers build trust with their "students" so they can specialize their care.

"[Ubuntu] faces everything head on and fearless, and the trust that we have is great and I just really enjoy working with him," zookeeper Corinne Herbert said.

Zoo Knoxville said these gorillas typically live to be about 50 years old in captivity. Right now they are considered critically endangered.