Apes voluntarily participate in heart health screenings - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Apes voluntarily participate in heart health screenings

WACO, TX (KXXV) -

Heart disease not only kills us humans at an alarming rate but also animals like apes.

That is why the Cameron Park Zoo hosted a two-day workshop focusing on great ape cardiac health that started on Tuesday.

Central Texas News Now had the opportunity to get up close and personal with orangutans as zookeepers performed echocardiograms. That means they are taking pictures of the heart.

Zookeepers said the animals trust the humans enough to let them do things to check their heart health.

"The orangutans get treats for doing it and so it's a lot of fun for them. It's kind of like a game. They do something right and then they get a treat, but for us, it's a huge diagnostic tool for us to view their heart and see how healthy they are," said Lynn Yakubinis, the Lead Keeper of Primates with Zoo Atlanta.

This is the third time Cameron Park Zoo has hosted a workshop.

Zookeepers said it is all about conservation. They want to make sure they can understand the health issues apes face in order to protect them, and ensure the continuance as a species.

Forty-five great ape experts and zoo professionals from 26 institutions traveled to Waco from across the U.S. and Great Britain for an informative day of discussions and demonstrations geared toward improving cardio health in great apes.

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