Natureland Zoo's iconic special-needs Capuchin Monkey, Ricky, sadly died overnight of a suspected heart attack. Ricky was 17 years old and was an immensely popular animal for the Zoo.
Operations Manager, Gail Sutton, said her team was shocked and devastated by his passing: "This morning we arrived to find that Ricky had passed away through the night. He had been unwell for the past few weeks but blood tests did not reveal anything unusual. He had been on various medications and we noticed a significant improvement in the past few days. Yesterday he was even chasing ducks on the lawn so it was a massive blow to find he had died this morning."
"He was such an important part of the Natureland experience and it continually amazed us just what an icon he was not just for Natureland but for Nelson in general - people from overseas came to Natureland especially to see Ricky. He was immensely popular with visitors and was a favourite amongst staff" adds Gail.
Ricky suffered a brain injury when he was only a few hours old, following an attack by his jealous brother Denis. Ricky later caught a nasty cold and his life was in the balance at which point staff members decided to hand-raise him.
"The fact he was hand-raised meant many people had the opportunity to meet him up close and even touch him, hence the reason he was so popular. These close encounters also meant that Ricky helped to significantly raise the profile on the plight of his wild cousins and primates in general" adds Gail.
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