Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Comments of a recent Berlin zoo visitor: "The enclosures are outdated. The chimp enclosure itself is small and does not provide the chimps much to do except sit. The chimps are probably eager for activity and would be more active if more were provided for them in terms of interesting and challenging forms of enrichment. I got the attention of one male and had a rousing game of chase with him-- he seemed interested enough in being active! That being said, a zoo chimp has no responsibility at all to be entertaining to the public!.

"BORING" OLDER CHIMPANZEES EXPELLED FROM GERMAN ZOO

Being a Middle-Aged Chimp No Tea Party
By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - Aping the tactics of some big employers, the Berlin zoo is to send its middle-aged chimps into early retirement because they are too sluggish and set in their ways -- and German animal lovers are up in arms about it.

Because they no longer amuse the public, the five chimpanzees are to go to China after attempts failed to find a new home for them in Europe. But the fate of Gusta, Lilly, Karel, Pedro and Soko has sparked outrage in the local media....

Wildlife activists criticized the zoo, saying it wants to bring in younger primates to attract visitors.

"They were cute when they were young, but now that they're old they're being heartlessly put out to pasture," said Daniela Freyer, spokeswoman for animal rights group Pro Wildlife.

The 158-year zoo, the oldest in Germany and one of the best known in Europe, said it needs more room for its gorillas and pygmy chimps, which are more lively and have produced offspring recently. The zoo has a total of 342 apes....