Keepers join primate workshop

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Three DZG keepers got up to some serious monkey business when they attended the EAZA Primate Nutrition Workshop.

Assistant Curator, Richard Brown, Head of Upper Primates, Pat Stevens and Head of Lower Primates, Nicola Wright, pictured right, joined primate delegates from around Europe at the three-day symposium at Paignton Zoo.

The workshop highlighted the dietary requirements of different primates and gave practical advice about how to meet their needs using commonly available ingredients.

Head of Lower Primates, Nicola Wright, said: “It was a very useful workshop. Not only did we get the chance to meet and talk to primate keepers from around Europe, we came away with lots of new ideas to consider implementing here at DZG.”

The session started with keepers having to put together a diet sheet for a different primate.

Nicola added: “We were given the pygmy slow loris, which was a bit of a challenge as we don’t have any here at DZG, we then returned back to the sheet at the end of the three-days where we had to re-evaluate and re-do it if needed.”

The conference also highlighted the importance of UV light for primates and also suggested cutting out fruit from certain diets – due to the high sugar content.

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“We discovered primates who had a reduction of fruit in their diet were less aggressive towards each other, had better teeth and were more successful with breeding, which was very interesting to hear and something we’ll definitely be discussing” added Nicola.

Richard, Pat and Nicola were also given the opportunity to tour Paignton Zoo’s primate sections, as well as hunting out some of the site’s great gorilla sculptures!

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