Monday, May 21, 2007

Fifi, Sydney's tea drinking chimp, turns 60

fifi chimpBefore Fifi the chimpanzee could do anything on her 60th birthday today, she had to have her morning cuppa.

She couldn't bear to even look at the special birthday treats -- vegetable cake, watermelon and extra coconuts -- until she'd sipped, in typically ladylike fashion, a hot chamomile tea.

Her keepers at Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo believe Fifi, a matriarchal figure in the zoo's 19-member family, is one of the oldest chimpanzees alive.

Senior primate keeper Louise Grossfeldt said chimpanzees typically lived up to 45 years in the wild, but in zoos they had been known survive into their 60s.

In her prime, Fifi was one of the group's highest ranked females.

"I believe she is the backbone of the group and she's always the peacemaker when there are arguments among families," Ms Grossfeldt said.

"Fifi continues to enjoy her life to the fullest with the rest of the group, and hopefully for many more years to come."

Story here.

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