Sunday, June 16, 2024

Paignton Zoo Gorilla Plays Ball.

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England’s chances in the Rugby World Cup would be greatly improved if they had this chap in the line-up.

Male Western lowland gorilla Pertinax lives at Paignton Zoo in Devon. He‘s around 6 feet from head to toe – modest for a professional rugby player these days, but he weighs in at a hefty 190 kilos – and it’s pretty much all muscle. At 37 he’s a bit of a senior now, but even the All Blacks might think twice about tackling him…

Impressively, this strapping lad follows a strict vegetarian diet that features peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, beetroot, kale, leeks, aubergine, chicory and parsnip.

The rugby balls were donated by Lovell Rugby, the world’s largest online rugby store. Pertinax showed some fine ball-carrying skills, although his tendency to burst the ball could get him into trouble with the referee – but can you imagine sending him to the sin-bin?

Senior keeper Alex Perry explained:

This is an excellent form of environmental enrichment – the balls are novel items and stimulate the gorillas to play. smeared a little honey on the ball, too, as an incentive. It’s great to have a locally-based company like Lovell help us out by donating balls.”

Bornean orang utan Mali and her 6-year-old daughter Tatau also had a try-out with a rugby ball. Balls are among the many enrichment devices used at Paignton Zoo. Environmental enrichment aims to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours, to stimulate activity and to provoke curiosity using new objects and situations. Enrichment can range from puzzle feeders and wind chimes to scents and old cardboard boxes. Paignton Zoo is a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 01803 697500.

Boost News Desk
Boost News Desk
Robert Haylor has 14 years of web development experience, starting out as a web developer whilst still in his university dorm room at Birmingham City University. With a background and a strong interest in website design & development he is skilled in a variety of programming languages including PHP, MySQL, CSS3 and HTML5. As Managing Director of Boost Digital Media, he regularly jumps on to client projects on a daily basis as well as ensuring the company strategy is being implemented and is delivering results.

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