The baboons, mandrills, mangabeys, lemurs, spider monkeys, gibbons and colobus monkeys have new homes at the Hogle Zoo.

The animals were released Thursday into completely renovated exhibits in the zoo's primate building.In the interest of animal safety, only news media personnel and zoo personnel were permitted to watch the monkeys become adjusted to the new displays.

Thursday evening members of the Utah Zoological Society previewed the monkeys in the new exhibits, which will be open to the public Saturday,and heard internationally known wildlife biologist Ian Redmund speak.

The Briton's visit to Salt Lake City was to mark the reopening of the monkey house.

The five renovated exhibits in the primate building were remodeled as "habitat" exhibits, specifically designed to meet physical and psychological needs of the zoo's primates.

Zoo officials said much effort was devoted to overall appearance and general aesthetics so the public could see the animals in environments similar to their natural settings.

The safety of zoo keepers, accessibility and easy cleaning were other factors incorporated into the design of the new facilities.

The remodeled exhibits require about 600 feet of three-eighths inch tempered glass to separate the public from the animals.

Construction of artificial trees, so the monkeys can climb, required about 8,500 pounds of steel pipe and approximately 100 gallons of acrylic plaster.

Artificial rocks were formed with steel, metal lath and 3,500 bags of concrete.

Zoo keepers will carefully monitor the animals and their safety in the coming weeks.

Redmund spent two years with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Zaire doing research and conservation work as a research assistant to the late Dr. Dian Fossey.

Fossey was a well-known researcher who lived with gorillas and later published a book. She was slain by an African native, which prompted author Farley Mowat, who wrote "Never Cry Wolf," to write a current best-seller about Fossey and her research.

Redmund has taken up Fossey's research on the behavior of mountain gorillas. He also lectures extensively around the world and occasionally leads gorilla safaris. The biologist has also helped produce four documentary programs for American and British TV and has been a reporter for the BBC Wildlife Magazine.

In 1980, Redmund spent five months in a cave beneath the forested slopes of an African volcano on his first study of underground elephants. Since then he has made several trips to East Africa to "throw a little light - literally and metaphorically - on the world's only troglodyte tuskers," he said.

Redmund was involved with Operation Drake, a 2-year circumnavigation of the globe to mark the 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drake's voyage. The Drake expedition undertook scientific research and conservation projects with international teams of volunteers.

One of Redmund's projects in Operation Drake was to collect reptiles and amphibians in Papua, New Guinea, for the British Museum of Natural History. He also helped build a path to the Kittum Cave so human visitors could see the underground elephants in Mount Elgon National park in East Africa.