Early Christmas treats for Zoo animals

​Christmas has come early for some of the animals here at the Zoo.

Our troop of seven western lowland gorillas came out on their island to find Christmas stockings packed full of their favourite breakfast treats of parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.

The gorillas were not our only animals for whom Christmas came a little early. Others getting festive included meerkats who received boxes filled with their favoured food items, and the four giant tortoises who enjoyed some red and yellow pepper garlands.  

The Christmas fun this week also coincided with female gorillas, Touni and Kala’s, birthdays which are just a day apart.   

Touni was born at La Vallee des Singes zoo in France 12 years ago (Dec 12) and Kala was born three years ago (11 Dec) at Hannover Zoo in Germany.

Both Touni and Kala came to Bristol as part of the European Endangered Species Programme to help safeguard western lowland gorillas which are Critically Endangered in the wild.

It led to Touni giving birth to her first baby, Ayana, in April 2017 and it is hoped Kala will also become a mum soon.

Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals, said: “Both Touni and Kala are fantastic gorillas. They are really important members of our group and great ambassadors for their species, which is facing a lot of challenges in the wild.

“It’s lovely to see them together with the rest of their group enjoying some pre-Christmas treats.”

It’s not just all the animal residents enjoying festive fun this Christmas. For 2019, the Zoo has been transformed into a glittering winter wonderland and is running its much-loved Santa’s Grotto until Monday 23 December, where families can meet the big man before he heads back home to prepare his reindeer.

Tickets to Santa’s Grotto start at £4.80 for a child member and each ticket includes a gift from Santa and lots of art and craft activities.


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