The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chimpanzees at Chimp Haven Upset

SPRING RIDGE — Chesapeake Energy Corp. met its own deadline to build a road through a south Caddo park, but some of the gas company's neighbors still say big trucks are rolling through their community.

The Oklahoma-based business pledged to remove heavy traffic from roads in Spring Ridge Estates subdivision by May 1. That meant a new road for its trucks needed to run through Eddie D. Jones Park. That pathway was ready April 30, according to the local head of Chesapeake activity, Kevin McCotter.

"We've instructed all of our employees as well as our vendors to use the new road through Eddie Jones Park," McCotter said Monday. "I think for the most part they are. Obviously there were a few folks who did not get the word."

A gate that crosses Chesapeake's road to allow access to wells on private property should be locked now, McCotter said. That should stop trucks from moving through the subdivision.

Chesapeake's road runs past Harold Fox's house. The 57-year-old General Motors assembly line worker said he is beyond "sick and tired" of the noise. Chesapeake planted a row of fast-growing trees that runs the length of Fox's yard. It is supposed to block sight and sound.

On Monday, Fox did a little traffic directing. He said Chesapeake should have kept its end of the deal and ensured residents truck drivers would use the new road, away from their homes.

"While I was standing here I ran half a dozen people off," he said. He meant on Victoria Lane, which has crumpled under the weight of tractor-trailers hauling rig equipment.

The parish will repave part of that road and connecting Shane Lane this summer, according to Public Works Director Robert Glass. Chesapeake then will reimburse the expenses.

The projects will go out to bid later this week, but McCotter said he expects them to cost his company about $178,000.

Chesapeake plans to work with parish parks staff to make its road through the park easier for cyclists to pass over, McCotter said. That likely will mean a smoother surface at several trail crossings. The road is made of rocks, and bike paths wind for 10 miles through the park.

The company also has improved a road and parking lot for Chimp Haven, also inside the park. Staff at the sanctuary for retired chimpanzees initially protested Chesapeake's access road because it would have passed within 300 feet of the animals' habitat.

Workers ended up moving the road further north to be less of a bother to the chimps, McCotter said.

"So far, the chimpanzees appear to be dealing with the construction traffic. We have not seen any behaviors that are concerning at this point," according to Dr. Linda Brent, of Chimp Haven. "However, I am told to anticipate a period of heavier traffic when the big rigs come in. Some may not be bothered by it; others may become depressed or agitated or exhibit stereotypical behaviors like rocking. Still in others, stress may manifest itself through physical illness."

Caddo commissioners approved the drilling of gas wells inside the park, but that has not started, McCotter said."


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