Californian dream

Chimp lover Katie Draper made a mammoth 10,000-mile round trip from her Californian home for a dream close encounter with our chimps.

Twenty-three-year-old Katie, from Los Angeles, completed the marathon journey to DZG to meet and feed our seven female chimpanzees and said it was one of the best experiences of her life.

Katie, who bought the animal experience for herself as a graduation and birthday gift, couldn’t find anywhere in America that would let her get as close to her favourite primates.

So she hopped on a plane with her uncle to meet our gorgeous girls Fanny, Malaika, Mandy, Mali, Barbie, Banika and Binti.

Katie said: “I came to Dudley all the way from the US just for the chimp encounter. Chimps have always been my favourite animal since I was little.

“I have yet to find anywhere in America that would let you get that close to chimps. I had the entire experience to myself and it was amazing.

“This was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. My dream of feeding a chimp finally came true. Thank you so much for offering this encounter. I will absolutely be back someday to visit my seven best friends.”

Zoo Manager Matt Lewis said: “We are very flattered Katie chose Dudley Zoo for her chimp experience and it’s incredible she made such a huge journey to visit us.

“We are delighted the experience was so thrilling for her and we will of course give her a warm welcome should she ever want to visit our seven chimps again.”

Thanks for visiting us Katie!