In the mood for
PICK OF THE DAY
S WE return to Chester Zoo, the love lives of the residents provide the drama. Sumatran orang-utan sisters Emma and Subis are due to give birth at the same time. After Emma appears one morning with her new baby, it seems that Subis is going into labour. But after 24 hours of no progress, she is rushed to the vet and what happens next shocks the team.
Elsewhere, the zoo has breeding plans for chameleon Ruby. Potential mates Charles and Eddie need to display themselves in front of each other to get Ruby interested. Only Eddie has performance anxiety.
‘Eddie is so shy that as soon as he knows you are around he goes out of his way to make sure you can’t see him,’ admits keeper Adam. ‘Sometimes it takes ten minutes to find him.’
There are issues too with meerkats Beagle and Huskie, after some aardvarks move in with them. They won’t go near their neighbours or the shared bedroom, which is stalling plans to expand the colony. ‘Meerkats really are quite prolific breeders,’ explains keeper Kirsten. ‘You start with two and before you know it you’re over-run with the things.’ Could redesigning the paddock give Beagle and Huskie room for romance?
And with the zoo’s pair of vampire crabs, Janet and John, also reluctant about getting frisky, keepers introduce larger male Claude to shake things up and increase the odds of Janet getting pregnant. But the element of competition can be dangerous.
‘When they fight, limbs get ripped off,’ admits a keeper. ‘Which we hope won’t happen, but it’s a risk we have to take…’