Merry Christmas everyone!

Dudley Zoo Keeper Shaun Crompton left his own presents at home for a few hours while he handed out gifts and a giant cracker to our animals on Christmas Day.

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ABOVE – Putting his own present unwrapping on hold – Keeper Shaun Crompton dishes out gifts to our Columbian black spider monkeys

And he didn’t have far to come on this special day! Shaun is one of a few keepers who live on the Castle Hill site and said he had plenty of treats lined up for our lower primates.

He said: “I’ve wrapped a few presents for the spider monkeys and made a giant Christmas cracker for the chimps.

“It won’t have a bang though, just to make sure I don’t startle them, but it will be filled with delicious snacks.”

Shaun, from West Bromwich, moved into accommodation within the zoo grounds in July and said it saved him having a six-mile cycle into work every day.

Across other sections it’s also business as usual as staff were on hand to feed and care for the hundreds of rare and exotic species in our 1,500-strong collection.

We’re also very grateful to several visitors who have handed Christmas presents to our keepers for the creatures, including our popular Sumatran tigress Daseep, Charlie the parrot and orang utans, Benji, Jorong, Jazz and Sprout.

Shaun added: “It’s a special time to be alone with the animals we care for as December 25 is the only day of the year we close to visitors.”

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Sumatran tiger Joao, one of our meerkats and Yasmin our red panda star on the DZG Christmas card

Merry Christmas from us all at DZG!