Chief Executive’s Blog

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yesterday ended with some sad news at Edinburgh Zoo.  Ricky the chimpanzee passed away at the grand old age of approximately 50 years old.  A much loved member of our chimpanzee group, he had the honour of being Edinburgh Zoo’s oldest resident.   All the primate keepers and Budongo Trail volunteers, and many of our visitors, had a soft spot for Ricky.

Image(Ricky on National Porridge Day)

Importantly he had managed to be an integral member of our chimpanzee group for the many years he was with us.  You see the earliest years of Ricky’s life are unknown and it is probable that his parents were slaughtered as part of the illegal bush meat trade.  It is often very difficult for chimpanzees like Ricky who were taken from their mothers when very young and haven’t had a chance to learn how complex chimp social hierarchies work.

We plan on commissioning a commemorative plaque to display under Ricky’s photograph in Budongo Trail.  The plaque will just say a few words about him and his time at Edinburgh Zoo.

Our Annual Zoo Review took place last week at Edinburgh Zoo.  Ever popular, our animal experts discussed the new animal arrivals and births during 2011 – including the birth of our drill monkey baby, the arrival of our female Sumatran tiger and of course the high profile arrival of the two giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

Onto more panda news…

Footage of Tian Tian’s first encounter with hay was released this morning.  Fantastic stuff, the link really shows her playful side.  On finding the hay her keeper Alison had added to her indoor enclosure, Tian Tian was quick to investigate.  I’ll let you watch it for yourself, but I bet many of you will not have guessed a panda could move and roll around so quickly and with such agility!

News from the Highland Wildlife Park is the weigh in of Walker the polar bear.  He was tempted onto the scales by the promise of sardines, his favourite.  Keepers discovered Walker now weighs a healthy 63 stone – that’s a staggering 403kg.  A little heavier than they guessed, Walker has grown considerably since his arrival at the Park in December 2010 and is expected to be between an incredible 80 and 110 stone when he is fully grown in two or three years’ time.  Not just a publicity stunt, medically we actually need to know Walker’s weight in case he needs to be anaesthetised for a medical procedure in the future.

Finally, we are about to unveil some very unique Valentine’s Day presents for your loved ones – so do watch out for further details.

Best wishes,

Hugh Roberts


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