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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

Paignton Zoo wins national award

Paignton Zoo has won a national zoo award for its work with a bird that in this country is found only in the South West of England. The Best Field Conservation Project award, from BIAZA (the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), is for the charity’s work with cirl buntings.

The Zoo’s bird department has played a key role in a project to move cirl buntings to a secret site in Cornwall. Curator of Birds Jo Gregson said: “Zoo staff helped to collect young chicks from nests in South Devon for rearing and release in Cornwall.

"The birds have gone to a larger habitat which will allow them to expand their range in the future. That sort of work needs a lot of care and experience.”

Gorillas charity auction raises thousands

About this time last night we were looking ahead to the Auction of Torbay and Exeter`s gorillas. 24 hours later, and exactly £100,000 has been raised with most selling for than £3,000 each.

The project had been organised to celebrate the 90 birthday of Paignton Zoo. Richard lawrence watched the auction and met some of the successful buyers

Great Gorillas auction raises £100,000 for charity

A hundred thousand pounds has been raised from the auction of the thirty decorated Gorillas that were placed around Torbay and Exeter this summer.

The highest bid for a single gorilla was £5,300.

Most were sold to people living in the West Country. Some said they`ll keep them in their gardens while others want to put them in public locations.

The money is going to gorilla conservation and the Children's Hospice South West.

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