[monkeywire] Antwerp Zoo: Don't stare at the chimps

Rina Majmudar rinamajmudar at gmail.com
Wed Apr 18 14:16:57 EDT 2007


Antwerp Zoo: Don't stare at the chimps

2 hours, 5 minutes ago

We all know not to feed the animals when visiting the zoo. Now the Antwerp
Zoo has urged visitors to, please, stop staring at the chimpanzees.

New rules have been posted outside the chimp enclosure at the city zoo
urging visitors not to form a bond with a particular male chimp named
'Cheetah.' He was raised by humans but is now bonding with the seven other
apes at the park, a zoo official said Wednesday.

"We ask, we inform our daily visitors and other visitors that one of the
monkeys is particularly open for human contact," zoo spokeswoman Ilse Segers
told AP Television News. "He was raised by humans in a family and therefore
we are trying to integrate him, to try to get more social integration with
the group."

She said Cheetah's continued interaction with humans was "delaying the
social integration of the animal in the group," and isolating the ape from
the others.

A sign posted on the glass enclosure asks onlookers not to stare at the
apes. "Look away when an animal seeks to make contact with you, or take a
step back," it says. "Some individuals are more interested with visitors
than their own kind."

Segers said the zoo was not barring visitors from looking at the chimps
altogether. "Of course eye contact is not forbidden. We have more than 1
million visitors a year and of course they are very welcome still to have a
look at the animals."

The 164-year-old Antwerp Zoo is one of Europe's oldest animal parks,
attracting around 1.3 million visitors a year.
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