PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University family has a chance to meet their adopted primate appropriately nicknamed Gus.
So far, 15 people from the PSU community signed up for a trip to Fort Worth Zoo in Texas on June 17 to meet Augustus or “Gus” for short. The PSU community weighed in on social media in naming the baby gorilla, and was soon after chosen by the zoo as Gus’ adopter.
“When that happened, pretty much from the beginning, we were saying this is so cool and so unique,” said Jon Bartlow, director of the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations. “We have to do something to highlight the fact that this happened.”
Bartlow said his office and PSU’s marketing team reached out to the Fort Worth Zoo about making 441 mile trip extra special. The trip won’t be nearly as long for 2012 alumna Hayley Alberti.
“Ironically, I live in the same city where this is going on …. This is a perfect opportunity to go and make a special experience and see Gus,” Alberti said, adding she has yet to visit the zoo.
Bartlow said the spectacle has gotten a lot of “buzz” from the PSU community, which yields 65,000 alumni around the world. He expects more people to sign up before the June 14 deadline.
“We know it will be an exciting opportunity to meet Gus and we are thrilled Pitt State has taken such an interest in our primate program,” said Alexis Wilson, director of communications at the zoo.
The PSU family will receive discounted tickets of $10 for adults and $5 for children during the normal hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, the zoo will offer a private viewing for PSU family and dinner at Crocodile Café.
Gus and his mother will be put in a special exhibit during the private viewing, which also features a live animal show by zoo officials, Wilson said.
Tickets for the evening event cost $20 per adult and $15 per child. Tickets for normal hours and the private viewing can be purchased together for $25 per adult and $20 per child.
To register, visit http://bit.ly/25jIzyG or call 620-235-4758.
Gus is a western lowland gorilla. He was born Dec. 5 out of a breeding program that brought his mom, Gracie, a 16-year-old gorilla from the Oklahoma City Zoo to Fort Worth in 2014.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.