A celebration fit for an ape
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Birthday bash for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s oldest resident
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s oldest resident - Koko the chimpanzee – celebrated her birthday in style this week as she reaches the grand old age of 40.
Zookeepers packed presents and piñatas full of her favourite treats, including little gem lettuce, tomatoes and yoghurt, and hung them up in her enclosure in time for the big day.
Koko, which means monkey face in Spanish, was born at Dudley Zoo in1973 and arrived at Whipsnade in 2006. She shares her island home with Nicky, Phil, Grant, Bonny and Elvis, who will all be helping her celebrate her special day.
Keeper Kathy Doherty said: “Everyone at Whipsnade has a soft spot for Koko as she has such a loveable and gentle personality. Forty is a really great age for a chimp and we’re thrilled she’s reached this milestone birthday.
“Koko was hand-reared as a youngster and is particularly fascinated by people – she can often be spotted pulling funny faces at visitors. When she’s not doing that, she enjoys sunbathing on her favourite spot which we’ve nicknamed ‘Koko’s log’ because she spends so much of her time there.
“Being the oldest chimpanzee, she does like to have a bit of quiet time on her own occasionally, but Koko still loves investigating new things. Giving her gifts like stuffed presents and piñatas is a great way of keeping her stimulated and encouraging her to be inquisitive.”
Whipsnade is home to six chimpanzees and their enclosure consists of both outdoor areas and their indoor ‘chimpnasium’ where the group can swing, play, and even sleep in their high level hammocks.