Chimps on telly

DZG chimps and Senior Keeper Jodie Dryden made an early morning TV appearance today in a programme for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

They featured in the BBC TWO programme See Hear at 8am showing how Dudley Zoo’s primate keepers communicate with our seven chimps through hand signals.

See Hear Researcher Melissa Wessel contacted us to arrange the filming, saying the chimps’ story would appeal to their viewers as the majority use sign language themselves.

She came across the news of our keepers using a series of seven commands to help care for our all-female group after setting up a Google alert for ‘sign language’.

The simple chimp signs, shown in a poster designed by DZG’s Graphic Designer Rachel Lane, were passed on from London Zoo where the girls came from 20 years ago and allow keepers to easily perform health checks and give any necessary treatment.

Our keepers can get the chimps to show their chest to use a stethoscope or their ears to take their temperatures with an ear thermometer and the primates always get treats in return. They will also show their bum, back, mouth, shoulders and feet.

Jodie said: “The chimp sign language proved invaluable when Mandy was injured one time and we were able to communicate with her and give her an injection without any stress involved.

“It’s wonderful that our story has featured on a programme aimed at people who understand the power of sign language and we hope they found our chimps interesting.”

Melissa said: “Google alerts brought to my attention that Dudley Zoo is using chimp sign language and we thought it would be something different and fun to feature in our monthly Deaf News round-up.

“The majority of our audience is deaf and/or a British Sign Language user, so there is kind of a connection there!”

See Hear is a monthly programme for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community delivered in British Sign Language with subtitles and voice-over.

If you missed this morning’s programme it’s available on iPlayer for 30 days and repeated after midnight tonight.