Longleat goes ape for Christmas

Kesho the gorilla makes off with his Christmas gifts

A rhesus monkey checks out the keepers' Christmas offerings

First published in Latest News

Christmas came early for the monkeys and a family of gorillas at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park when they were presented with a sackful of festive presents.

Brothers Alf, Evindi and Kesho were fascinated by the brightly wrapped gifts and carefully tore holes in the Christmas paper to try and see what was inside.

Each of the parcels contained a selection of their favourite fruits and vegetables and it didn’t take long for the huge Western lowland gorillas to tear off the paper and get to the treats inside.

Longleat’s deputy head keeper Ian Turner said: “The gorillas were really interested in the wrapping paper and spent several minutes looking at it and carefully inspecting each of the presents before taking off the paper.

“It’s always amazing to see just how gentle these hugely powerful apes can be and to admire their dexterity as they tore back little bits of the wrapping to get a peek at what was inside,” he added.

All three brothers, who were born at Dublin Zoo, were reunited for the first time earlier this year to form the new bachelor colony at Longleat.

And it wasn’t just the great apes who enjoyed some early festive spirit.

Longleat's colony of mischievous rhesus monkeys also got in on the act when they were given Christmas gifts of their own – keepers even provided them with signs reminding Santa not to miss them out on Christmas Eve.

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