Great Ape Trust says flood bill is $1 million

Thursday, August 28th 2008, 7:19 am
By: News 9


Associated Press Writer

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- One of the largest great ape research centers in North America needs more than $1 million to recover from damage suffered in Iowa's record June floods.

Flooding began at the 230-acre Great Ape Trust campus in Des Moines on June 10 and damaged two administrative buildings as well as mechanical systems in the ape research center, said operations director Jim Aipperspach. Two to three feet of water swamped much of the center.

None of the apes was injured in the flooding, and researchers were able to resume work within a week, Aipperspach said.

"Some research that didn't require sophisticated computer technology and the like took place immediately," Aipperspach said.

The trust will receive about $250,000 in flood insurance, Aipperspach said, and the group hopes to make up the difference with fundraising.

After later phases are completed, the Great Ape Trust is expected to be one of the first worldwide to include all four types of great ape -- bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.

Since the flooding, the mechanical systems have been restored and replaced and most of the information technology systems are back online, Aipperspach said.

The trust is waiting on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report that will look at the factors that led to the floods and how best to avoid future damage.

"We'll stay here, it's a beautiful location," Aipperspach said. "What we need to do is work with nature."

The center is built in a floodplain on land donated by the city.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)