This week Coco, Noddy and Mongo have been given access to their outside run for the first time. As they are now housed in an enclosure previously home to the zoo’s gorillas – alterations had to be made to ensure it was safe to let Chimps into it (Chimps are much more agile and climb more than Gorillas). They are enjoying having more options as to where to spend their time and the keepers are able to feed them outside now, depending on the weather. It has been great for the Ape Keepers to see Coco and friends have even more space and access to the elements – our chimps are proving quite hardy!
On a sad note, Ricky, who made up the fourth Chimp in Coco’s group passed away last weekend. Ricky was a much loved Chimp who was a pleasure to work with and had a very amenable and laid back temperament. All at the zoo are very sad to say goodbye to Ricky, he will be greatly missed.
Up at the ‘Chimp Complex’ this week the keepers have noticed some interesting
group dynamics developing since Kip moved across to be with Danny and Tommy.
As Kip left the main group, a vacancy arose for the dominant male to take charge of
affairs. Out of Peter and William, we thought that it would be Peter who took charge
as he had previously challenged Kip the most. True to form, with the
backing of his mother Samantha (dominant female), Peter has gradually
started to display alot more and try to intimidate all around him. Within ‘his’
group this seems to have had the desired effect and on a few occasions over the
last week or so, both Peter and Samantha have displayed and Holly, Jollie and
William have been displaced.
On the other side of the house the hierarchy seems to fall from Danny at the top, then Kip and Tommy at the bottom. Both Danny and Kip give the impression that they would happily step in and show Peter what a real alpha male is all about, if given the chance. For the present though, Peter seems to be enjoying his position at the head of his group,
despite the fact that most of his keepers see this as only earned thanks to the strength of his mother Samantha!
Our big chimp move reached a very significant stage last week as Benji, his daughter Tuli and Rosie, the remaining three chimps in ‘Main Row’, moved to a larger enclosure next door to Choppers and Louis leaving Main Row empty.
The move went exceptionally well, and all three chimps have settled into their new home very well. Staff have enjoyed watching little 5 year old Tuli in a nice big space with lots of room for her to swing around, and look forward to her meeting new chimps she’ll hopefully make friends with! Rosie particularly seems interested in observing Louis and Choppers next door.
Prior to the move, the maintenance team at Twycross Zoo had worked hard to erect a new climbing frame in their new home with plenty of rope and interesting things for them to do, so all three chimps have been keeping themselves busy! A few modifications to their outside run still need to be carried out before Benji’s group can have full use of the enclosure, but for now they all seem content in their new house.
Having cleared the ‘Main Row’, Twycross’s Chimp Keepers have been spending time ensuring that everyone’s settling into their new enclosures and are establishing routines. Keepers are still trying to adjust to not having any chimps to look after in the Main Row!
Photograph: Tuli foraging for food in her new enclosure!
Ricky is now settling in well with Mongo, Coco and Noddy, and staff have been seeing more of his personality come out this week with him joining in vocal and visual displays as well as enjoying some nice grooming sessions with Noddy.
If you come and see us at feeding times you will hear just how excited they all get when they know some nice fresh food is on the way!
This week saw Coco & Noddy integrate in with Ricky & Mongo. Mongo, being Cocos son and also previously cohabiting with Noddy, was very happy to be reunited with these familiar faces. Ricky, a less social animal and not familiar with the others, has coped very well and was seen being groomed by Noddy during the week. A great step for him to accept this show of affection.
There has, as always with chimps, being a few disagreements and Ricky and Mongo have a few cuts and bruises to show for this but otherwise the keeping staff and management at the zoo are very pleased with how this foursome have settled. The keepers particularly enjoy seeing how small Coco looks in such a large house and watching the boys displaying at their neighbours.
From the “Chimp Complex” the keeping staff have enjoyed seeing Tommy come out of his shell a lot since his and Danny’s introduction with alpha male Kip. Danny and Kip are both very respectful of one another’s size and strength and it is hard to say who is the dominant one at the moment. Tommy accepts his role graciously as the lowest ranking of the three. The boys frequently play fight with each other and can be heard making a human-like laughing noise when they’re particularly enjoying themselves.
The next step in our chimp relocations into larger groupings and better housing occured on Tuesday 13th November with old-girls Coco and Noddy (both in their 40’s). Mongo, Coco’s son, had blazed the trail from the outdated ‘chimp-row’ up to the new ‘chimp-conversion’ to join Ricky exactly two weeks ago. Now, Coco was to enter the same house as her son, along with her long standing sidekick Noddy, after many years in ‘chimp-row’.
The Ape keepers were particularly looking forward to seeing these two girls moved as they’d both been in this older area for as long as most could remember and so to see them in more contemporary accommodation would be amazing.
The sedations and moves went without incident and both Coco and Noddy were given a clean bill of health from our Vet team, after being given all the usual health checks, and left to recover in their new home.
Towards the end of the day, once the anaesthetic had worn off, the girls were re-united so they could reassure one another in this unfamiliar environment. Watch this space to read about how Mongo and Coco react when reunited in the coming week.
All concerned were pleased with how the day transpired and it was great to see how zoo management, vet staff and keepers worked as a team throughout. Most of all it was great to see two of our eldest chimps wake up in this brighter, more spacious and naturalistic accommodation!
After being moved to a newly converted enclosure last week, males Ricky and Mongo have been spending the week getting to know one another, their new spacious enclosure and also interact with their noisy neighbours. The initial introduction went without incident and surprised keepers looked on as the pair quietly got acquainted- earplugs were slowly removed by staff and deemed redundant!
If Ricky and Mongo continue to peacefully cohabit, it is hoped that old-timers Coco (Mongos mum) and Noddy can be moved in with them to form a nice group of four in the coming weeks.
Due to Ricky moving house, his former neighbours Louis and Choppers now have double the indoor space and have 24 hour freedom to go outside into the run. Keepers and maintenance staff are making ongoing improvements to the house, incorporating more naturalistic climbing options using logs and tree stumps.