For Lulu, life is just one big adventure. At 59 years of age, Lulu is the oldest member of our chimp group. This week the primate team began the task of moving all the chimpanzees back to the new and improved chimp facility.
This involved giving each chimp a full anaesthetic to transfer them between the two facilities. However due to her age, it was decided not to anaesthetise Lulu for the move. Instead she was trained to go into a transport box. Lulu has a very strong bond with many of her keepers, and she also loves her food! So training Lulu to go into the box was a fairly easy process. On the day she moved straight into her transport box as planned the box was then put into the back of the Wildlife Hospital van.
Lulu was accompanied by one of her favourite keepers, Allan, to help keep her settled. Lulu remained calm the whole way and just took everything in her stride. She was even standing up in the box to look out the window at everyone as she passed by. Chimpanzees form very close bonds with their family, so for Lulu to have left her family, gone into the transport crate and still to have remained so calm, is a testament to the trust that she has in her keepers. When she got to the refurbished exhibit, Lulu walked straight out of the box and went to greet Lubutu, her grandson who’d arrived earlier, before walking around to check everything out and off course collect up all the food that had been put out for her.
Over the next few days there was a lot of hustle and bustle going on at the new chimp facility, as the vet team and the primate team worked on getting all the remaining chimps moved over. For much of it, Lulu took up prime position down at the front of the den, where she could watch everything that was going on. Nothing fazed her. As the other chimps began to arrive, many of them were quite frightened and went to Lulu for a hug and some reassurance. For Lulu, the move was just another stage in her big adventure.
By Katie, Primate keeper.