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Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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…’

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