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Baboon 'Staying Alive' after heart attack with help from the Bee Gees

Aunt Bessie recovering from her ordeal. Credit: Paignton Zoo

A baboon at Paignton Zoo whose heart had stopped was brought back to life after the vet giving her CPR used the song 'Staying Alive' to count compressions.

The ailing monkey, named Aunt Bessie, collapsed twice in one afternoon. After the second time her heart stopped her chances of survival were slim, but she began to recover after the zoo's vet played the classic Bee Gees hit while trying to revive her.

This, combined with adrenaline and corticosteroids helped the four-year-old monkey turn a corner.

Aunt Bessie is now fully recovered and back with her troop at the zoo.

A baboon's heart rate is similar to that of a young human so the British Heart Foundation’s TV commercial used the song because it's a good prompt for the rate of cardiac massage ... You start to wonder whether anything you do will make a difference, but you have to keep trying when you believe there is still a chance.

– Ghislaine Sayers, Head Vet at Paignton Zoo


An orang utan at Paignton Zoo plays at dressing up

One of five orang utans living at Paignton Zoo

An orang utan at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon has demonstrated a flair for fashion.

Gambira, a 16-year-old Bornean orang utan, fashioned a dress out of a hessian sack which she wore for several hours. The sacks were donated to the charity by the Costa Rica Plantation Company of Torquay.

There are fewer Bornean orang utans in the entire world than there are human beings in Torquay

This behaviour is showing both the intelligence and curiosity of orang utans. The keepers cut holes in the sides of the sacks but after that it’s up to the orangs how they use them. It’s great enrichment for them – it stimulates them mentally and physically and tests their dexterity.

They will use small pieces of fabric to soak up liquids to suck or chew. They also shelter under the sacks as they would giant leaves in the wild, which is practical if it is hot or wet, or if you want a bit of privacy. Getting into a sack is just playful curiosity.

– Neil Bemment, Curator of Mammals and Director of Operations

Paignton Zoo lion has acupuncture

Lucifer the lion getting acupuncture from vet Nicki Grint Credit: Paignton Zoo

One of the lions at Paignton Zoo is being treated with acupuncture following a foot operation. Recent arrival Lucifer had previously had a tumour removed but it had failed to heal properly.

Veterinary anaesthetist Nicki Grint had previously only used acupuncture on dogs. The aim is to reduce pain and improve blood flow to aid the healing process.

Lucifer got his name because his number in the computerised Animal Record Keeping System (ARKS) is 666. He recently arrived in Devon to join two females, mother and daughter Indu and Maliya.

Lucifer - devil of a lion Credit: Chris Rockley


Lions to leave Paignton Zoo

Three lion cubs are to leave Paignton Zoo now they've reached adulthood. They will now go to new homes across Europe. The animals were raised as part of an international breeding programme designed to boost their numbers. There are less than 400 Asiatic lions living in the wild.

Lion cubs raised at Paignton Zoo are moving now they've reached adulthood. Credit: ITV News West Country

Monkeys banned from eating bananas

Monkeys have been banned from eating bananas at Paignton Zoo amid fears they will make them fat.

Animal nutritionists say the fruit has become so sugary through cultivation for humans it is the equivalent of feeding cakes and sweets to children.

Monkeys at Paignton Zoo have been weaned off fattening bananas. Credit: Paignton Zoo

Zookeepers weaned the monkeys off the treat gradually and their r diet now features lots of green leafy vegetables, small amounts of brown rice and leafy branches.

From now on the monkeys at Paignton Zoo in Devon will only get the odd banana on special occasions such as when vets need to entice them into eating medication.

Second baby Orang Utan born at Paignton Zoo

Chinta & baby at Paignton Zoo Credit: Paignton Zoo /Sheila Hassanein

A second baby Orangutan has been born at Paignton Zoo in the space of 9 months. Its mother, Chinta gave birth just before Christmas. The new arrival is expected to go on show to the public this weekend.

Baby should go on public view this weekend Credit: Paignton Zoo / Sheila Hassanein

Zoo keepers at Paignton take stock

It's a tough start to the year for zoo keepers, who have the job of counting each and every animal as part of a New Year stock-take. Staff at Paignton Zoo have around 2,000 heads to count. It's completed each January as a requirement of zoo licensing.

Little Tatau, who was born at the zoo in spring, is one of the new additions to the list Credit: Paignton Zoo
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