[monkeywire] New chimp home features Vegemite, yogurt

Carrie McLaren carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Fri Aug 30 18:06:34 EDT 2002

The Australian
August 29, 2002, Thursday


LENGTH: 294 words

HEADLINE: New pad is really swinging


BYLINE: Benjamin Haslem

THERE'S Bessie, who at 52 is getting long in the tooth and slow on 
the uptake. Then there's Lulu, the outrageous flirt with the hots for 
senior veterinarian Larry; and Kuma, a graceful and athletic beauty 
who hogs the coconuts. And at the top of the pecking order, toy boy 
Lubutu, who at just nine years of age, has even the oldest girls 

Meet Taronga Zoo's chimpanzee family, which this week moved into its 
new pad, a forest of ironbark trees with views to make the richest 
harbourside Sydney resident green with envy.

Wet weather on Monday and Tuesday kept the monkeys indoors until 
yesterday when sunny skies tempted them onto the branches for the 
first time.

The 17 chimps had worn out their old forest, so taller trees were 
planted, reaching up to 16m in height and linked by a network of 
timber bridges.

The zoo's African division manager Maria Finnigan said treats such as 
Vegemite and low-fat yoghurt and custard are hidden in artificial 
termite mounds in the exhibit. Ms Finnigan said the treats stimulated 
the chimps to make basic tools from sticks to retrieve the food from 
the mounds as they would in the wild -- where Vegemite and yoghurt 
make way for a more organic diet.

Launching the new chimpanzee forest yesterday, NSW Environment 
Minister Bob Debus announced an $11,000 grant to support the zoo's 
work in Uganda at the Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where orphaned 
chimps and injured are rehabilitated for release back into the wild.

"Chimpanzees in the wild, although they are found across central and 
west Africa from Senegal to Tanzania, are under threat from habitat 
loss due to practices such as forest clearance, the burgeoning 
bushmeat industry sourced from wild animals and the pet trade," Mr 
Debus said.

Carrie McLaren
Editor, Stay Free!

More information about the Monkeywire mailing list