Our seven chimps were fed by one of their biggest fans when DZG member Wendy Gray was given a Close Encounter experience.
The 54-year-old chimp fan, who visits our seven female apes twice a week and brings keepers treats and toys for them, cried tears of joy when she received the Meet the Chimps experience as a gift from her family.
Wendy, from Coseley, has been visiting Dudley Zoo since she was a little girl and has bought ten annual memberships for herself and family members so they can visit us regularly.
The generous grandmother even encourages her grandchildren to save their pennies to buy treats for our wonderful chimps.
Wendy has handed over all sorts of gifts including ball pit balls, tennis balls, sugar-free squash and plain CDs so the girls can look at their reflection.
She said: “When my family gave me the chimp experience I couldn’t help but cry, I was so happy. Feeding the chimps and giving them a drink was amazing and I just loved every minute.
“I can’t tell you exactly what it is but I just adore the chimps, and always have. This experience was definitely a very special present which has created memories I will always cherish.”
Senior Primate Keeper Jodie Dryden said: “Wendy is dedicated to the chimps and is just mesmerized by them.
“She has grown up visiting Dudley Zoo and used to work on a market to save up enough money to visit. She is incredibly kind and we are very grateful for her support and interest in our animals.”
DZG offers a wide range of Close Encounters including Tickle a Tapir, Meet the Orangutans and Feed the Giraffes. Purchasing an animal experience makes a vital contribution to our conservation work. The programme helps pay for special animal treats, toys, bedding, health checks, food bills and heating.